Saturday, May 25, 2013

Farm Wildlife... and Gnomes

If only I'd washed my milk room windows. Wednesday morning while milking goats, mama Wood Duck brought her ten new babies to the pond. These photos are taken through the dirty windows. The babies seemed to find plenty of something to eat amongst the parrot's feather that I never should have planted. It was supposed to freeze out in the winter and be pretty in the summer, plus keep the algae down. Well, it's pretty in the summer and has definitely eliminated the algae, but the roots grow deep into the mud and never freeze. However, the local wildlife doesn't seem to mind. We have frogs and newts aplenty. And enough insects, apparently, for ducklings.

Mama Wood Duck no doubt hatched her ducklings in the wood duck nest box upstream from our pond. There are also two downstream nest boxes plus three on Agency Creek. One of those must have been home for a Hooded Merganser as a mama and 8 or 9 new ducklings (they disappeared downstream too fast to count) appeared on Agency last Sunday.

Back up by the goat barn, our pond is home for more than frogs and newts and ducks. When the sun shines, dragonflies, like this pretty red one (a meadowhawk, maybe?) dart back and forth across the dam. 

 Our newest pond resident is a muskrat. He (she?) has made a burrow in the side of the bank near the dam. I've watched him tow many leaves of the water iris I also should not have planted into his burrow. And he seems to like eating the parrot's feather. So far, the muskrat is much preferable to the considerably larger and more destructive beaver that seem to have moved their headquarters to Agency Creek. I grew very tired of dismantling their blockade of our dam.

 And, of course, there are the birds. Most are not so easy for me to photograph as this Red-breasted Sapsucker, who diligently keeps his sap wells open in our trees. He worked on the back yard birch tree today while I weeded.

 Some of the critters here are not wild at all.. like the horses, happily browsing what grass they can get through their grazing muzzles, designed to keep them from foundering themselves on sugary spring grass.

 And then there are the anything-but-wild gnomes I hired to help with all the weeding. As you can see, they are not helping. No wonder I still have so many weeds in my flowerbeds, in spite of my own hard work. Maybe I should also stretch out a hammock (between rain showers) and take a nap.

Or nestle down by the pond with frogs for company...

But I really should wash those milk room windows before any more wild and photogenic creatures appear on our pond..

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