Frog pond crittersI adore our 16 acres, and appreciate the critters in the deep forest and wetland. My frog pond has been such a joyous place, with Mac Muskrat still popping up, as well as our Wood ducks (4 pair, plus two more males), mallard pair, and a phoebe pair about to nest (somewhere)! Yesterday, I spotted several huge bullfrog tadpoles. There are hundreds of them, and they are fat things the size of my thumb, ready to morph into frogs.
The mating frogs are numerous: Wood frog (100s), Gray tree frogs (4 for now), and Chorus frogs (2). Then, on a sunny day, I spotted a salamander swimming amongst the dead leaves. A photo was IMPOSSIBLE!
Our Barred Owl
|Archived winter photo|
I cannot find his nest, usually a cavity in a tree, despite seeing lots of hollow trees. There are certainly two of them, and they are consistently in the same locale, our back 40. Daisy helped me look. She brought back two ticks. (Five, total, for this year!)
They tend to hunt after dusk, in the night. This one was quite sleepy-looking, thankfully, although eyeing Daisy.
They tend to stay within a 6 miles radius, All About Birds says. This is likely the Barred owl we found beside the frog pond in winter (right). They do not migrate, as my photo shows!
They like all sorts of food;
Barred Owls eat many kinds of small animals, including squirrels, chipmunks, mice, voles, rabbits, birds (up to the size of grouse), amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates. They hunt by sitting and waiting on an elevated perch, while scanning all around for prey with their sharp eyes and ears. They may perch over water and drop down to catch fish, or even wade in shallow water in pursuit of fish and crayfish.You can sometimes locate them by finding the remains of their dinner, in a food pellet, coughed up later. They swallow their small prey whole, regurgitating fur and bones they are unable to digest.
Their only predator is the Great horned owl. (We have one not too far away, they nested a couple of years ago, across the highway in the forest.) Horned owl on nest in April, 2012 Hubby found a Barred owl, killed by a car, likely swooping down for a mouse by the side of the road.
Jos accidentally upset him, and he spooked. I heard him calling back and forth to his mate a day later.
'Who-cooks-for-you? Who-cooks-for-you-aaallll?'I was hooked! Daisy and I went on a hunt.
Can you see him in the first photo? I was so proud of myself for finding him!
This shows how hard he was to spot, sitting high over the bog!
Barred owl from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
See the tick on her cheek?! Telltale sign! The mature adults are quite large. Soon, the nymphs will be about. They are teeny and hard to spot. Their cycle includes: egg, larvae, nymph, adult. I took it off of her, and put it down the toilet! (We're on a septic system!)
I dug out another from her lower lip that evening, a larvae, when we snuggled. (Tick count: #5 for 2016)