Backyard Pond

Discussion of backyard pond, frogs, goldfish and plants.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cistern Frog Surprise

Today I decided to rearrange the cisterns to increase the amount of water I can collect from a rain storm. The 150 gallon Rubbermaid one on the left was previously used for temporary Goldfish housing. The one on the left is 275 gallons. to make the move, I had to drain the 275 gallon cistern and to my surprise, there were tadpoles and to my bigger surprise, there were frogs. We found 5 of the silver frogs living in the 275 gallon cistern. I was able to rescue all the tadpoles and one of the frogs immediately (he is in the second picture in the temporary location I set up for the tadpoles). The other 4 frogs are fine and we stuck a bamboo pole in the cistern to allow them to have easy access out. One did take the invitation and came out several hours after the move.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Baby Bird Flies Away

OK, so I got a little carried away. I peaked at the bird nest and one of the babies was standing tall, fully feathered. I grabbed the camera and took this picture of him standing tall in the nest. And he took exception. He surprised me by flying away to the apple tree. It was quite amazing that just two weeks ago he hatched and now he can fly like he has been doing it his whole life. The second picture shows the nest after he left and if you look close, another baby is still in the nest. I just checked and the flyer returned to the nest. He probably remember thats where the food has been delivered for the past two weeks.

Elephant Ear Update

Just five weeks from the last picture and what a difference. The plants in the brick planter have filled out the area and are about three feet tall. The plants behind the pond are taller, about 4 feet but not as thick. It will be interesting to see if they get as big as years past.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Baby Bird Growing Up

The week since we rescued the baby birds from the Black Snake have been quite a worry. I have been expecting the snake back every day but to my knowledge he has stayed away. So the baby birds are continuing to grow. In the picture, it just looks like a ball of fur in the nest. If you look close, you can see tiny black dots for the eyes of two of the three babies, and once you find the eyes, you can just make out their beaks.
Meanwhile, back at the pond, some of the baby frogs are growing. Here is a terrific specimen lounging in the rocks just under the waterfall.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yucca Blooms

We have a Yucca plant in the front yard and this year it has produced a beautiful bloom. Our plant only seems to bloom every four years or so. We haven't kept track but maybe with this post, I will start keeping up with the bloom cycle for our plant. Most other years all we see is the pointed leaves and no flower stalk. Here is the flower stalk about four weeks ago and now the stalk is much taller and weighed down with masses of flowers. Quite a striking display next to the driveway.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Black Snake Intervention

Earlier I wrote about the Black Snake attempting to attack the baby birds in their nest on top of the porch column. While I have tremendous respect for the ways of nature, I felt compelled to intervene. I grabbed my snake stick (a gift from friends at work) and gently lifted the snake off the iron fence. I didn't think his was a capital offense but it did require some action. I chose relocation so I carried him about 150 feet away in the woods and set him free. I may be naive in they he might easily navigate back to the nest but I hope he gets the message. At least his punishment is much more lenient than what he had in mind for the baby birds.

Black Snake Attempts Baby Bird Buffet

On June 2nd I wrote about Momma Bird building a nest at the unprotected end of the porch. I was afraid a Black Snake would climb up and eat the baby birds like they have done at the other end before. Well today I heard a ruckus from the porch and peered out to see a Black Snake curled up on the iron fence a just 5 feet below the nest. The ruckus was caused by two adult birds flying around crazy flapping their wings and yelling in an attempt to drive the snake away. Those birds were not scaring the snake at all. I don't know how long the snake had been trying to get to the nest but then it dawned on me. Perhaps the Momma Bird was smarter than I gave her credit. A big difference between this end of the porch and the other is the gutter downspout is attached to this column. The nest is on top of the column. I wonder if the Black Snake was having trouble climbing up this column because he can't grip tightly around both the column and downspout where it is easy with a nice smooth column. I hope Momma was right and I was wrong. See what happens to the Black Snake in the next post.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hydrangeas Flowers Closeup

I took a couple of close-ups of the huge flowers on the Hydrangeas and they are beautiful. Here is one from the plant on the right which is fully covered with flowers. And the other picture is from the middle plant and for some reason there is some separation between some of the flowers and just below the flower is some debris from the bloom.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Oak Leaf Hydrangeas Recovery Continues

The incredible recovery of our Oak Leaf Hydrangeas continues for another year. Several years ago these bushes were planted in the front yard outside the fence. I didn't realize they were Deer candy and the deer ate them down to little more than twigs. In our rescue attempt, we moved them to the back yard and boy are they looking good. With the huge flowers these bushes really add a wonder to the landscape and I understand they can grow to fill the entire space that setup for them. It will be great if they double in size - what a view. The orange Tiger Lily is a nice touch in this picture.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Deer Never Sleep

Here we go again. We have an apple tree hanging over the deck by the ponds and every year, the tree drops small un-ripe apples on the deck. I think the squirrels help knock the apples off the tree because some of them are partial eaten. Those apples are a mess so I pick them up several times a day and throw them over the fence. And guess what, the deer love these little green apples. And here we have the deer by day and deer by night nuzzling through the leaves on the other side of the fence chowing down on the apples.

Friday, June 05, 2009

First Baby Frogs of the Year

You have to admit these are some of the cutest little frogs you have every seen. Just a little while ago they were just eggs that were probably laid in early March and here they are, cute little frogs. And they are just barely frogs with their tiny tails still hanging on. They are just emerging from the water, climbing up on the Sweetflag leaf. It is hard to get a good picture since they are so tiny, dark colored and wet. Pretty soon we'll have to be very careful where we step with these little guys hopping all over the pondscape.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Ungrateful Birds

So here is the deal. For a number of years, the birds have built a nest on one end of the porch and Mr. Black Snake has attacked that location. I have tried several snake deterrents over the years. A nest was build there this year but the builders abandoned it. And then a nest was build at the opposite end and eggs were laid and the Momma Bird sits on the eggs. Here you see some of the eggs in the nest and then a shot from far away of Mom sitting on the eggs. I hope Mr. Black Snake doesn't attack this nest.