Summer Garden Critters

After working so hard on my germination station this past weekend, I thought I’d take a little break from the heavy gardening and just reminisce about some of the critters I found in my garden last summer. With Old Man Winter attacking most of the country today, I’d thought it’d be nice to give you a little warmth by sharing my critters with you.

The very first critter I found at my new house, before I even planted my first seed, was a green snake.

Green snake

Green snake

When I learned their diet is mostly insects and spiders, I let it go. I haven’t seen it since, though. I could sure use him back in the yard!

Another insect eater that is very common in the Charleston, SC area is the Carolina anole. My yard is full of the cute little lizards. They are either green or brown, depending on what environment they’re in.

Carolina anole on beans

Carolina anole on beans

Carolina anole on strawberry plants

Carolina anole on strawberry plants

If you find them with a combination of green and brown, you have caught them in the process of changing color!

During early summer, I found a praying mantis in my garden. I hadn’t seen one of those in years. When I took the picture of him, I caught the sunlight through the trellis.

Praying mantis

Praying mantis

Shortly after seeing the praying mantis, I caught a baby bunny rabbit in my garden. My yard is fenced in, but he was able to squish through the holes in the fence!

Rabbit in the garden

Rabbit in the garden

Fortunately, by the time he was big enough to do any damage to my garden, he was too big to squeeze through the fence. I did catch him in my front yard quite a few times in the mornings.

About mid summer, all the dragonflies starting visiting my garden. Here is a most unusual one. It’s the only time I have ever seen a blue dragonfly!

Blue dragonfly

Blue dragonfly

In August, I noticed several caterpillars – pretty ones, too – having a feast on my parsley. I had no idea what they were, so I researched it on Google. Come to find out, they were the caterpillars of the Black Swallowtail butterfly! Wow! You know I let them eat away!

Black Swallowtail caterpillars on parsley

Black Swallowtail caterpillars on parsley

The caterpillars didn’t stay long (and my parsley grew back quickly), but I soon saw several Black Swallowtail butterflies flitting among my tomatoes and peppers. (Unfortunately, I have no pictures of them.)

And now for the new neighborhood regular – a Peregrine falcon! He’s been flying around for months, but in December he started taking a liking to my yard and visits it frequently.

Peregrine Falcon Jan13

Peregrine falcon on my fence

I’ll have to keep an eye on this guy when I get my chickens!

There were so many other critters in my yard that I didn’t get pictures of. Like the butterflies: Black Swallowtail (black with blue markings), Gulf Flitillary (orange with some black markings), and Sulfur butterfly (all yellow).

I’ve seen quite a few types of birds in my yard, too: A pair of Cardinals made their home in the neighbors tree and raided my compost bin to make their nest. Blue Jays and Robins love to eat in my yard. Mourning Doves sing to me quite often. I saw a pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers on my patio one afternoon. THAT was a treat! And one time – the only time in my life – I saw an Eastern Bluebird; he visited my birdhouse, but didn’t stay.

I also found a few toads in my garden, which I was happy to see.

Of course, I had dozens and dozens of insects. Besides the numerous varieties of bees (which I love having), there were bugs this Yankee girl had never seen before. I didn’t want to take pictures of those, but this year I will try to do just that so I can share with you what’s invading my garden and how I’m dealing with it.

Well, I hope this little piece of summer shone through your winter clouds. Connect with me on Facebook and share YOUR garden critters!

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