Monday, July 2, 2012

The Good, the Bad, & the Eaters. . .

Insects and other wildlife can be a wonder to watch as they roam and flutter about my realm.  At the same time I know that the beauty of a butterfly also means the destruction from it's larva.  And the peaceful meanderings of deer comes with the possible loss of crops to their greedy little muzzles.

Still, as long as the damage from the caterpillars isn't extensive, and as long as the deer stay out of my garden, I enjoy being able to appreciate the charm of my local wildlife.  So here are a few pictures I snapped while out and about in my yard.
This was the first "real" butterfly I saw on my butterfly bush.
His wings were a bit torn, but he was still handsome.
I saw this lovely yellow swallowtail offering up such a
beautiful contrast on the deep purple of the flowers.

 The best thing about the butterflies is that they pollinate the flowers.

They are incredible to watch,
& have such personality.

One of my favorite bugs to see in the garden is a Praying Mantis.  These freaky-looking helpers are crawling everywhere in my garden.  I've seen several in my herbs and out front, and I saw one in my raspberry bush while I was picking the other day.  There must be a nest somewhere within the gardens around the house because there are so many, ranging from less than an inch to almost three inches long.  That means that buggy pests of all sizes are being chowed down.  
This is the little guy I rescued from
inside my house.

Bee in a Rose of Sharon flower.
While they drill holes in our deck and guard them fiercely, the bees are also good to have in the garden.  Another pollinator, I find them very entertaining when the Rose of Sharon opens its flowers.  The bees love these purple delights so much they actually get pollen-drunk on them--or in them, to be more precise.  Crawling around inside the large flowers until they are white with pollen, they will either pass out inside the flower as it closes for the night or literally fall to the ground and try to weave a drunken path to somewhere safe.  Our aggressive carpenter bees become docile addicts thanks to the Rose of Sharon.

Doe to the right of the rusty burn barrel.

These aren't the best pictures, but we had two deer--one a buck--in our yard a couple weeks ago.  As we watched three more deer crossed the field behind our fruit trees, and the deer in our yard joined them.  That was decidedly good for them because I was poised to chase them off should they have gotten too close to my garden.  (I should note, however, that the plastic liner in the garden seems to be a good deterrent for the deer.)
"Our" two deer joining the three in the back field.

Now, for my favorite portion of my critter entry. . .  Can you tell what this is?

The same night we saw the deer, and I chased a cat out of my veggie garden with a hose, and I saw two different Praying Mantises in my herbs, we saw a toad sitting at the top of the deck stairs.  This also happened to be the day I researched toad houses and toads in general, learning that toads can eat hundreds of bug each night.  (I knew they ate bugs, but I had no idea they were so efficient.)  Because of all I had learned, I let him stay up on the deck to eat to his heart's content.

The next morning I saw that something had been digging in my silver-tipped thyme.  In checking to make sure it wasn't from a cat, I found this. . .

 He or she was a big toad to be hiding in such a small pot.  I guess I need to get on making that toad house.

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