Recently, I looked out the kitchen window and noticed that we had an extra frog. We have several that have been given to us, but this one had come on its own.
I think it is a pig frog, but I sent pictures to an expert, who said it could be a pig frog but he was leaning more towards a bullfrog, and that the hind leg pattern would be the determining characteristic. Well, I am not willing to disturb this critter just to be able to look at its legs for an identification. I love looking out and seeing her. I am pretty sure it is a her because her ear is about the size of her eye. Guys have larger ears. She is, by the way, the size of my fist.
She has been hanging out for over a week now and, with any luck, we might get tadpoles!
As I walk around our block, I see that our neighborhood has become over-run with squirrels.
Recently, I came upon one sitting on this concrete cap over a culvert. It had lined up acorns, as though it was a buffet. Most of the yards have similar culvert caps, but this was the only one set up for lunch.
We had some welcome rain this week that helped to break the temperatures that have been hitting the mid-90s. A good thunderstorm can drop the temperature a good twenty degrees.
It was during one of these downpours that B first noticed a box turtle in our little pond by the front door.
Box turtles are actually tortoises which are the land-dwelling cousins to turtles. It became pretty clear that the box turtle could not figure out how to get out of the pond. So when it stopped raining, B scooped it up in a net.
He released it in the butterfly garden. The next day, we observed fresh soil had been kicked up onto some of the foliage in the middle of this large, full bed. It was either an armadillo or the box turtle working on a hole.
In some places it has become extremely rare to see box turtles. Not so, here. We are blessed to see them rather frequently.
B learned that this was a female. Females have dark eyes and males have red ones.
This box turtle was high-tailing it when I took this picture while walking around the block. We were interested in how jagged the spine line was.
Our screen porch was recently visited by a click beetle. I love the owl-face on this kind of click beetle. Of course, its eyes are closer to the antennae and are not the big spots on its back, intended to scare off predators.
Click, click is the sound that it makes as it tries to escape.
Click, click is the sound of my camera as I take pictures of the click beetle before it escapes.
It is a good year for pileated woodpeckers in our neck of the woods, and "knock on wood," they will be around for centuries to come. I love them in spite of their destructive and noisy habits. Last weekend, I observed three on one pine in the neighbor's yard. As we drive to our garden, we have frequently seen others. Woodpeckers are wary and have a habit of hopping to the far side of the tree as you approach. The first shot is through the windshield, so it is less than sharp.
But the sun shining through the crest of this one is nice.
Woodpeckers are known to have very stiff tail feathers that they use, along with the sharp claws on their feet, to support their relatively heavy bodies, almost like a tripod. On the top picture you can see how this bird has fanned out those tail feathers.
I believe that both of these are females, whether or not they are the same bird. (I took the pictures on different days.) Females have gray foreheads, while males have the red feathers all the way to their beak.
It is June and the snakes are on the move here. This beautiful red rat snake was on the lighthouse road. It was about four feet long.
This morning, I noticed this tiny guy beside the road in our neighborhood when I was walking. It was barely four inches, only a little longer than my middle finger. It was so dried up that I really don't know what kind of snake it was. My best guess would be gray rat snake.
Our vegetable garden that has lately been all B, no me, is bringing home the bacon. Rather, not bacon, but lots of good vegetables. Every day now, we are eating home-grown squash, carrots, zucchini, banana and jalapeno peppers, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, tomatoes and herbs.
Our son sent a photo of the roasted vegetables they cooked, all from our garden.
We watched this deer bounding across a wide expanse of salt marsh recently. It stopped long enough for me to catch this shot, before continuing on and out of sight. The sun was rather low behind it, illuminating the pink ears.
This handsome grasshopper was on one of our irises. I find the contrasting coloring quite striking.
This is a juvenile lubber grasshopper or Romalea microptera. This one will grow into a large yellow grasshopper that can be quite destructive to citrus groves, but also to home gardens. They are said to favor amaryllises, though I read one gardener to state, "they love every plant I grow, including weeds." According to the same article, http://www.tampabay.com/features/homeandgarden/kill-kill-kill-the-eastern-lubber-grasshopper/1223224 lubbers are toxic and their only known predator is the loggerhead shrike, a native bird that beheads them and then impales the rest on barbed wired to bake out the toxins before returning to consume them.
The S of SNB is a kindergarten teacher in a public school in Tallahassee, Florida. Her better half is B. He is self-employed as a lawnscaper. They have two fine adult sons --and an amazing daughter-by-marriage. They are the grandparents of one delightful little boy and his sweet, infant sister!