5 January 2014

Critters in the garden

Every nook and cranny at Greenlion is inhabited by critters.  And being an unrushed, contemplative and bending down sort of activity, gardening is an ideal way to find out who lives where.  Take the dam for instance (above); it's teeming with aquatic life - tadpoles, boatmen, wrigglers and the like.

Some of the aquatic critters make tasty morsels for humans and water birds, especially the yabbies.

Careful observation is rewarded with the discovery of the more elusive little creatures, as well as providing solitude.

Echidnas try to be elusive by digging themselves into the ground to protect their vulnerable underbellies.   We have a metre high rabbit proof fence around the house block to deter visitors such as hares, rabbits, wallabies and deer.  One would think that the echidnas would be inadvertently barred from the garden too, but they can climb the fence by holding on with their fierce claws.

Quite recently we discovered a new resident- the little jackie lizard.  They are amazingly bold.  This one was skipping round my feet as I worked in a very dry part of the garden.

The skinks sun themselves on rocks but with any sign of movement they head for cover.

The blue wrens are the boldest of all the birds in the garden.  They literally catch insects and worms beside our feet as we work in the garden.

At Vizsla Lak, Margret has sign posted the driveway to warn visitors that there are ducks crossing.  Come Spring and there is a constant to-ing and fro-ing from the dam to the grasslands
jumping with insects.

Of course, although insects provide great tucker for birds, they may not appeal to humans.  This spider was in a rock pool on the river.  The children initially tend to respond to spiders with fear, but we teach them about the important role of spiders in the world and they learn to treat them with respect.

However, 'To live and let live' can try the patience of Jove.

We first noticed some holes in a secluded part of the garden.  They weren't rabbit holes and we were puzzled.  Then there were more holes, then more and more and we had a problem on our hands.  The place was starting to look like a scene from 'The Great Escape'.

We asked a friend who suggested that we had bush rats.  They had spread across the garden, digging underground tunnels all over the place.  Our patience was wearing thin.  They had dug their way dangerously close to the veggie patch.

Finally, after a visit to 'Its A Trap', we caught one of the culprits with a trap baited with fresh carrots.

And this is what we caught.  Isn't he or she beautiful?  After capturing and relocating 15 bush rats to a lovely place beside the river, and well downstream, we repaired the garden.

Hopefully our furry little friends are happy in their new bush setting.

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