Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Guess what I saw?!

I live outside of suburbia where I still get to see real wild life. So, I've been paying closer attention to it since Peanut was 4 so I could point stuff out, show him how important Nature is, etc. I've been having tons of fun discovering things in our own backyard.

Saturday I swear we saw this bird at our newly purchased bird feeder, but according to enature, it's not possible. It tells me that we were supposed to have seen the Eastern Bluebird instead.

Just a little bit ago, I was standing outside monitoring the 2 dogs that were most likely to wander away when I looked up and saw one of these flying around (or so I think; I saw only its belly). I'm excited because my dad has okayed the purchase and use of bat houses!

Early this year and sometimes in my house over the winter, I've seen the Convergent Lady Beetles, sometimes getting assaulted when I stepped outside. I remember the summer of Lady Beetle mating season in Virginia Beach (at the beachfront) and walking through a wall of Lady Beetles and coming out with several in my hair, shirt, etc.

Last spring, we would walk outside in the morning to find our cars and house invaded by Northern Walking Sticks. These look creepy to me because they look so much like real sticks I think.

Also, we got to see what enature calls the California Mantis on our rose bush eating a grasshopper head. Talk about very cool!

And, on humid nights, we are surrounded with Pinewood Tree Frogs who suction cup themselves to our windows and doors (the glass ones). It provides for precise examination because we get to see their underbellies, even the suction cups on their toes!

Every spring, around March when we start having really warm days, these toads start showing up everywhere. Last summer, we had large holes all over our yard where they had dug themselves out from their winter hibernation spots. The thing is, holes like that disgust me and I can't even begin to tell you why. I remember seeing this water toad (yes, I understand that they all are to some extent, but this one literally lived in the water) on Discovery Channel. The female would lay her eggs on the back of the male, who would then develop this mucus like material that surrounded each egg, creating individual sacs. When the toadlets were ready to come out, they broke free of this sac and swam out, creating lots of little holes on the male frogs back. Very disgusting yet I couldn't stop watching it anyway.

I also just realized that we have skinks in our yard, not just lizards. We do have lizards but I can't seem to find what it is, so here's a picture. What is so interesting, is that she looks like the Texas Spiny Lizard in my opinion.