Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Creatures We Have Seen

We have spent a lot of time out of doors here on the homestead, rain and shine, freezing (15F) and sweltering (98F). In that time we have only begun to catalog the amazing multitude of living beings we share this land with. I grew up here on the homestead and I have a lot of memories, but I did not have the perspective then, that I have now. In other words, I took it for granted.

In my years of gardening, landscaping and traveling I have come to realize how most of the modern world we live in is a narrowed down version of what the world of nature can and should be. It took a little time on the land for me to get back in tune and begin to notice the amazing diversity that we experience here at the homestead. Here are just a few of the creatures I have managed to catch with my camera. There have been many many more that were too fast or flitted by while I was not carrying my camera.

This is one of the many Pacific Fence Lizards that live in our garden. I make little "castles" for them with the rocks I dig up in the garden. Not a very romantic name but it fits since these guys love to hang out on fence posts. Although I don't really know if that is what they are named for.

A Tadpole peeks out from the water weeds.

What's that in the grass? A Blue-tailed Skink. Too quick for our camera. I'd never seen one before this.

Here is the trio of Pileated Woodpeckers that worked the dead tree limbs around the trailer all summer. It looked to me like they were a mated pair tutoring their single offspring on the fine dining of Termites.

This was a very mysterious siting for me. This fellow was ambling across the doorstep at dusk. I looked and looked in my Amphibian book but I could not perceive the differences or likenesses between the large amphibians in the book and this one. It was about 12" long! I did learn that many forest dwelling amphibians don't need a body of water to lay their eggs in, only a damp place, like a hollow log...

I think it might be a Pacific Giant Salamander. All the pictures show spots though and this guy (or gal) has none...

Snakes are special to me. I have always loved them since I was a child. I was thrilled to find this very large Pacific Garter Snake in my garden, staying warm for the night under an old tarp I had down in the garden to kill some grass. Snakes are very welcome in my gardens because they eat the dreaded SLUG.

Every day I see a bug I have never seen before or hear a bird song that I cannot place. It's a joy to just sit for a few moments and notice each layer of activity in the woods or the field. Every day there's something new.


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