Birds Who Tease: Purple Martins

Three Purple Martins were checking the place out this year.

Bluebird babies fledged this week from their nest high up in the Purple Martin house. Next day, the Purple Martins (Progne subis) arrived. I guess it was a sublet and the lease was up for the bluebirds. Purple Martins are a picky bunch. They zoom round and round and round some more. They peer into […]

Squirrelly Squirrels in the Garden

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Squirrels are a normal occurrence in a great many beautiful wildlife gardens.  Up until this year, suprisingly my yard was not one of them. Perhaps not so surprisingly after all.  When I purchased my plot back in 2006, it was pretty much clear cut sans a smattering of long leaf pine trees.  Squirrel have a […]

Pollinators: Soldier Boy, oh my Little Soldier Boy

Soldier bettle on Marshpennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata)

When you talk pollinators, most people expect a conversation about bees and/or butterflies.   Often flies will be considered as backups.  Well, let’s add another player to the pollination conversation…BEETLES. The Margined Soldier Beetle a.k.a. Margined Leatherwing (Chauliognathus marginatus) is here to dispel the myth that beetles are evil.   Hey, we aren’t all June bugs, after […]

In the Wildlife Garden, Are You Game?

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As I do most mornings, I peered out the bedroom window to see what life has in store weather-wise.  I saw this head sticking up from the grass…which is getting a little tall these days as spring has arrived. At first I just assume it was a bobwhite quail…a shy and quick moving gamebird. I […]

Lizard, Lizard, Show me your Gizzard*

Cuban anole giving a warning or a wink?

I was wandering out back when I perused one of the trees coming into leaf. There I spied the bright red dewlap of a brown anole, one of the non-native Florida lizards. A dewlap is a throat flap that the males have, kinda like the Adam’s apple of the herp set. This surely means that […]

In the Garden, Three Stripes and You’re Out

Come out, come out, wherever you are!

The other evening, Chili, the Irish setter a.k.a. the great reptile hunter sounded the warning and I headed out to round her up.  She was barking non-stop along the edge of the fence, which could mean rabbit, but given the area, a snake or turtle was more likely. I trotted her off to the house […]

Ant Supermodels in the Garden?

the Elongate Twig Ant (Pseudomyrmex gracilis)

Well, once again I have a new member added to my buggy life list.  Meet the Elongate Twig Ant (Pseudomyrmex gracilis). I’m not sure I’m happy about this fellow. Also known as the Mexican Twig Ant, it is native to Mexico and occurs south to Argentina and Brazil. In the U.S. it is mostly found […]

When Bugs Hug

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Happy Valentine’s Day 2014.  I’ll start with a disclaimer that not all insects are bugs, but all bugs are insects. For this article I’m lumping arachnids under the bug umbrella too.  Heck, they crawl around, don’t they? Besides, spiders are often the biggest huggers of them all! In past years for the holiday of love, […]

The Water System as Wildlife Habitat

Next day, he still seems happy

Living in a rural location, I have an outside well pump and tank with a water conditioning system added. This week as I walked past, something swooshed and I spotted a Southern Black Racer snake (Coluber constrictor priapus) slithering through the hole in the platform that holds up the tank section.  I guess this is […]

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