Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday - April 2015

It has been a very active month for the wildlife in the yard.  The weather has warmed up and the wildlife knows it is time to get out, start attracting mates and creating the next generation of critters. 


The first critter in the yard was Ms. Carolina Anole.  These friendly little lizards have become much more active now that the weather has warmed up.  As I was doing some garden work over the weekend, I noticed this anole hanging out in the garden shed.  I didn't want to leave her in there to bake, so I quickly caught her, took advantage of the photo-op, and released her back into the "wild."


Another fun critter spotting was this giant leopard moth caterpillar.  I spotted a similar one back in January, but no sightings of it in its moth-like form...yet.  I do hope I spot one this year, as they look to be pretty amazing creatures.


The most peculiar bug I spotted in March was this little guy below.  At first I thought he was just a twig nub on my pomegranate tree.  While I was inspecting the tree for buds, I notice the "twig nub" move!  


After a couple of pictures, I tried to get him to walk onto a stick so I could investigate closer.  Turns out the animal was a worm-looking thing and the "twig" was it's shell of sorts.  Anyone have an idea on what it could be?

I was happy to spot this ladybug on one of my roses, one of nature's pest controllers.  Then I realized I must have pests - aphids on the rosebush.  I sprayed the plant with a high-stream jet of water to knock them off.  Hopefully Mr. Ladybug will get the leftovers.


I wasn't quite as happy to spot this snail.  There are many more where it came from, but (knock on wood), I haven't seen them destruct anything in the garden...yet.


Enough about the creepy-critters.  Let's move onto my feathered friends.  I'm most excited to see that the bluebird house has a new resident, though not a bluebird.  A titmouse couple is nesting in here, but I have not yet spotted any baby birds or eggs.  They will certainly be quite cozy when they do arrive, as the nesting materials are made of soft furs, fuzz and moss.


My pup is certainly intrigued by the new inhabitants.  I frequently here Mr. Titmouse making a big fuss - apparently he doesn't like Jeb sniffing around his property (quite the Texan he is).


I'm also happy to report that one of the wren houses has wren residents - though no pictures to show.

The screech-owl nesting box, however, does not have screech owls.  It seems to have everything but.  First, it was European starlings that we kept chasing off.


Then, it was the fox squirrels.  After several attempts to discourage them from nesting, we finally gave up and let the squirrel nest this year.  I just hope that she has some cute baby squirrels as a result.


This seems to be her favorite position - just hanging out of the entrance.  


Other birds making their homes in man-made boxes are the purple martins.  This house is actually in my neighbor's yard, but I get to enjoy the view of the purple martins from my house and love seeing them soar overhead.


Other birds of note during the course of March include the last museum of cedar waxwings.


As well as my first sighting of a male red-winged blackbird.  I've noticed the females hanging around the last few months, but this was my first sighting of the male.  He was accompanied by a female.


One other new avian creature was this mourning dove.   I have, what seems to be, nearly a hundred doves flying around our neighborhood, but they are primarily of the white-winged dove variety.  I spot Inca doves from time to time, but this is my first time spotting the mourning dove kind.


The Northern mockingbirds (our state bird) are being extra showy right now, serenading their sweethearts in hopes of finding true love, or at least their next baby-momma.


And then there are the regulars, like Mr. and Mrs. Northern cardinal (I only have one pair, as far as I am aware), and the sparrows.


As well as the lesser goldfinches.


It has been an extremely busy month for wildlife with the arrival of spring.  Check out more Texas garden wildlife and other wildlife in gardens around the world over at My Gardener Says, where Tina hosts this fun meme every first Wednesday of the month.

13 comments:

  1. Hi, I've only recently found your blog and am greatly enjoying it. Your twig-thing is a casebearing or bagworm moth. Both males and females live in the little cases as caterpillars and use them to pupate. The female moths do not have wings and never leave their cases. The males do grow wings and fly to find a mate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you like my blog! And thanks for the bug identification and lesson!

      Delete
  2. So cute (and the lizard's not bad either)! That particular snail is decollate (Rumina decollata) and hunts other snails. So while they do eat some plant matter, it is minor compared to the benefit they provide by keeping other damaging snail and slug populations down. Seeing that snail is a good thing!

    That mourning dove is a beauty. I haven't seen inca doves lately - all white wings all the time around here. They'll eat their weight in inchworms once the oak pollen matures so they are OK by me! Happy Wildlife Wednesday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha - thanks - I realize I take so many pictures of my garden, and not many of ME in my garden! Thanks for the snail lesson - I always hear gardeners complaining about snails, so I assumed snail = BAD. Glad to hear there are good snails out there (and that I have them!) I guess I didn't think about the doves eating worms that I don't want...guess they earn there keep after all the seeds I gave them over the winter.

      Delete
  3. What a great collection! I think that snail you found is a predator; it eats other snails.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! Glad to know it is a GOOD snail ;-)

      Delete
  4. Great shots of all your birds! I just love the finches, so chatty and interesting to watch. Love your lizard-n-Rebecca portrait--you look very happy together! Aren't those anoles just the best garden guests?

    Thanks once again for participating in Wildlife Wednesday--it's always a treat to see your photos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never get tired of seeing the anoles. My dogs certainly like them too - usually seeing their quick movements drives my dogs crazy and they start hunting them down. Thankfully the lizards are quicker than the dogs, so normally don't get caught...just provide the pups with some good entertainment.

      Delete
  5. Wow you have so many wonderful birds...many will be coming soon up north to our area too....red winged blackbirds have arrived and that makes me know spring has come even though we still have so much snow. I have never spotted any titmice in our nesting boxes but would love to have them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do not envy your snow. Growing up in Wisconsin, I certainly got my fair share of it. I'm happy to now by living (and gardening!) in Texas. Sure, it can get pretty toasty come July and August, but I'll take the heat over the bitter cold and snow for months on end. But most of all, I love that I can garden 365 days a year.

      Delete
  6. It's a wonderful time of year isn't it? I've loved being familiarized with the the wildlife in your area Rebecca - you have a fascinating lot and it must be so exciting having those titmice nesting in one of your boxes. My favourite just has to be the squirrel - a cheeky wee thing, isn't he?

    ReplyDelete
  7. How lovely to see all the wildlife in your garden, especially all the birds. I found a ladybird in my garden too today, she was rather sleepy so perhaps I woke her up, but after being moved to a rosebush she was happy to munch on some aphids soon after :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Beautiful photos. Especially the anole. I love anoles. They are among my favorite backyard wildlife and I have scores of them in the yard. They are great fun to watch.

    ReplyDelete