Sunday, June 29, 2014

Summer So Far, Here at PFHQ

The pond is up and barely fluctuates in this wonderful wet 2014 summer. The dragonflies and their kin are happy for this and for the nearly fishless (not counting a zillion Gambusia) condition of the pond.
The mosquito fish (Gambusia) are doing a stellar job in the main pond and every other water feature at PFHQ. I stood on the dock last night at prime mosquito time, listening to the treefrog din, and not a skeeter did I see.
I'll take gambusia over microdroplets of malathion via a mosquito control truck any day.

The frogs are happy about the regular rains of course. The pond is ringed with teenage bullfrogs sitting just at the water's edge at night.
They all have specific habits and responses to the percieved threat that I pose.
As the dogs and I approach the pond, the bullfrogs always leap into the water for safety.

The Southern Leopard Frogs on the other hand, head for the bushes, leaving the water far behind as we approach.
This drives Coquina crazy as the frogs make a noisy exit as they leap away ... and then vanish.

The "nanner spiders" (Golden Orb Weavers) are still competing in the most creative web contest.
I like the smiley face on the left web ... may have to vote for that one on this day.
Their sisters who build their nests along our regular woods trail route have moved their nest up higher. The deer and I train them each year as soon as they appear. Their inexperience shows in the webs built just above ground level in early summer.
All it takes is a few web teardowns (gently of course) by me, or the head of a deer, and they recover by moving up.
By this time in the summer, I can walk clearly through my trails with giant webs just a few feet above my head.
That works for me.

The big gopher in the back northwest corner has been really busy ... basking in the sun. A walk without my 2 dog companions allowed me to stealth up on this good ol' gopher.

Gophers need open, sunny areas, so I am constantly beating back the bushes, trimming the trees, and making controlled micro-burns to keep them happy and healthy.

This year I've had some help from the weather and we haven't even had a tropical system yet.

My big beautiful oaks have taken a beating in 2014 ( I can relate to this, although I did not lose any limbs).
This one lost a major branch in a recent thunderstorm, another very tall one took a lightning hit and may or may not survive, and the impossibly balanced half oak tree with one huge side branch finally cracked, dropping it's tree sized branch across my trail.
(Yowza, that was a long sentence!)

Change is good, it keeps things from being all "samey-same-same".
You can quote me on that.


threecollie said...

I always love your updates on the way things are going around PF headquarters!

robin andrea said...

Great to see what's happening there in your neck of the woods. Love the spider webs and frogs, the turtle and the mosquito fish.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Mind if I borrow the "Change is Good" mantra? Samey same same ain't working.

Thanks for the update with the groovy pictures. I see you're having fun with the new rig. :)

Wondering what makes a southern leopard frog think the bushes are safer than the water? How odd!

Marilyn Kircus said...

Thanks for the lovely update. Wish I could have spent some time with a gopher tortoise or two before leaving Okefenokee NWR. They were just starting to come out and were very skittish so just got a couple of quick glimpses.

Wally Jones said...

Enjoyed your post. Yep, change can be good, and darn near necessary most of the time.
Now if I can just figure out how to put a mess of those Gambusia into the Green Swamp to help my birding adventures......

Hope you and yours have a really good Independence Day!

Island Rider said...

Good to hear from you. I wish the banana spiders would not plant their webs face height on the horse trails! First one down the trail takes the role of web catcher. Not pleasant!

Miz S said...

You've had quite a year, my friend. I know it must feel good to spend a little time puttering around at PFHQ,checking the pond and the spiderwebs and hanging out with the dawgs. Enjoy yourself.