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Friday, March 13, 2009

Life in the pond!

Normally I will post some new images for you to see, but today I decided to do something a little different. Its been raining pretty good for the last couple of days and I guess I have water on my mind. Several years ago we built a small pond in the back yard. I say "we" pretty generously because it is about 95% my wife, Diane's work. I did get to do some shovel time in the beginning. She purchased five goldfish for the pond and two tadpoles which eventually became Leopard Bullfrogs the following spring. This is one of them enjoying his first year in the pond. During that first year, one of the initial two frogs shall I say"croaked". The following spring we got another tadpole and by late summer we had another frog. The younger one is quite shy and spooks as soon as he sees you. The older and much larger one has never been bothered too much by my presence unless I see him during the day. At night he lets me get quite close without spooking. He will eat anything that fits in his mouth...crickets, cockroaches, cicadas, grasshoppers, and every June bug that gets near his pond. He even ate a small toad I was getting ready to photograph one night. Who knows how many other toads he eats during their breeding season. I'm sure you will here more about the toads when this starts during the full moon in May.
This is a shot of the pond in the summer right after the lights come on in the evening. Our five goldfish had become eighteen goldfish until a visit from a blue heron reduced that number back to ten. The heron has visited at least three times that we know of but I'm sure we missed a few visits. Fortunately the fish have some good places to hide. My office is in the back yard just out of sight to the right of this image. Everything I print and sell at shows is made within 30 feet of the pond. The first time I saw the heron he was standing in the back yard about eight feet in front of the door to my office. I was in the house and just finished some breakfast. I looked out the window to the back yard and like to have freaked. A heron standing on the ground is probably as tall as I am.
We also get quite a few birds that use it as a watering hole. Lots of dove. Thirty five years ago you would only see Morning Dove in this area. Now you can see White Wing , Inca, and Collared Dove. Things have started to green up in the yard but it still has a ways to go to look like it will in the summer. This last image was taken after one of the rare, freezing precipitation events that we get each winter.