The dog days of summer

Discussion in 'Member News and Views' started by harold bain, Aug 3, 2012.

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  1. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    My backyard is an urban wildlife refuge. We get racoons, squirrels, lots of birds, and have a resident cottontail rabbit population. My dog, Molly, is half Russian spaniel, half golden retriever, and loves the chase. She stands on the back porch, having a good look around when I let her out in the morning, then launches herself at whatever she sees. And she is very fast. A few years ago she was slow to come back in one evening, and when she showed up at the back door, there were two rabbit legs sticking out of her mouth. She has also caught and killed a squirrel. I've broken her of killing the wildlife, and she is content with just the chase, now.
    Yesterday morning, she was very exited about something she had found in the sandbox under the playhouse I had built for my grandchildren. When I had a close look, there were 5 baby rabbits that the momma rabbit had deposited in the boxed in structure. My dog, Molly, was very gentle with them, and hadn't hurt them. I figure that since they were just getting to that active, running age, momma had moved them to this confined area to keep them where she could find them. I haven't seen her, and suspect she visits at night when it's safe. I'll have to keep an eye on them to make sure they are getting fed.
     

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  2. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Neat Harold. At a quick glance you wouldn't know they were there, they are so well camoflaged. As I was reading your post, our cat was just getting ready to go after a garter snake. She just likes to play, but I went out and got the snake and put it in a safer spot. I love snakes. We are at a private RV park right now. My cat is like your dog....just likes the chase, and the chipmunks don't seem to mind her.

    Enjoy
     
  3. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    David, I wish more people would treat snakes with respect. There are very few dangerous snakes here in Ontario, and even these are only dangerous if provoked. We have quite a variety of snakes around our camp, as well as the only lizard native to Ontario. Ever seen an eastern hognose snake?
    It pretends to be aggressive, looking like a rattle snake, and if that doesn't work, it plays dead. Totally harmless.
     
  4. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Yes Harold me as well. I have a friend near here and have to tell him not to kill the garter snakes on his property. I have not seen the eastern hognose. But at the nature center here they often bring the black rat snake which are local to this area. At my parents cottage we had a bunch of 5 lined skink, which aren't that common. It has been dissapointing that there seems to be quite a decline in snakes and frogs in this area.
     
  5. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    I've noticed the decline pretty much all over. This spring I witnessed a mass migration of water snakes at the pond by my cabin. We counted over 30 (never seen so many at one time).
    Forty years ago we used frogs as bait for bass, and could easily catch 25 in a 10 foot stretch of shoreline on one lake we fished. Now, there are so few, no one uses them for bait. I don't know if it's acid rain, UV rays from the sun, or the return of such birds as the Great Blue Heron, that feed on frogs, and were almost wiped out by DDT. But they are not nearly as common as I remember them being.
    My backyard pond attracts toads in the spring to spawn, and every June there is a large green frog (close relative of the bullfrog) that finds his way to my pond, and spends a couple of months entertaining us with his croaking. He's been a regular visitor for about 5 years now. I don't know where he spends the rest of the year. He shows up just about the time the toad tadpoles are getting legs and leaving. I think he fills up on them. Now, he waits for dragonflies to get too close, and thins out my young goldfish.
     
  6. dweiss17

    dweiss17 Registered User
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    Harold:

    I envy you in the sense that you are so close to our natural world. When we moved here 51 years ago, West and to the North of our home were fields that contained many of the mammals we seldom see today, except for the squirrel. The trees were nesting places for many beautiful species of birds. Among them the Woodpecker, the beautiful Blue Jay and the Cardinal in its majestic breeding colors.

    Today, we have nothing but homes with lawns, asphalt streets and homes that drove away nature's wonder of animals, birds and insects. The
    last time I saw a grasshopper could be a decade ago. I do not know when I last saw a Monarch butterfly.

    Following this post...will be two pictures of Johnnie II behind the curtain on the picture window sill looking out to the West of Napfle Avenue.

    Dan
     
  7. dweiss17

    dweiss17 Registered User
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    #7 dweiss17, Aug 3, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
    Johnnie II will not look out to the East, she sees only homes, looking West is Summerdale Avenue with cars driving by. At least she sees something moving and not just homes in their placid state. The photos are not too good, if I came closer it would spook her and she has a habit of jumping off the window sill. (Even a cat wants to see what is going on in her part of her world.)
     

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  8. David S

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    Dan,

    First you have a beautiful cat. Part pursian? Looks a bit longer hair than mine.

    And yes Harold is quite fortunate that he has so much nature in his back yard.

    We come out every weekend to this private wilderness park where we have set up a bird santuary. We still get all sorts of birds although lately we have not had any nuthatches...which is strange.

    I guess if there is a decline in wildlife around us, we as humans have to take some responsibility.

    It is interesting that my cat is a house cat when in the city and has no desire to go outside. However as soon as we get to the park, she wants out to observe and chase.
     
  9. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    When I bought this house 27 years ago, it was the large backyard that attracted me. I've been sculpting it ever since. I now have two ponds, and a dozen mature trees. Yesterday I had a Flicker in my backyard. I recall having them around in my youth. They would burrow into a tree trunk to make their nest (woodpecker relative). Haven't seen one in this area for a long time. A few years ago the wind blew the chimney cap off my cabin, and I found three of them dead in the wood stove.
    I get ducks, and herons dropping in to check my ponds, but they move on when I let the dog out.

    There are a lot of bird species making good comebacks from the DDT days. Turkey vultures seem to be everywhere. Can't remember seeing them 40 years ago. Eagles are often seen as well. And since our government decided to domesticate Canada Geese, they are everywhere. They used to live on James Bay and Hudson's Bay, and only pass by on their migration.
     
  10. David S

    David S Registered User
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    You are quite fortunate to still have all that wild life in your back yard.
    We used to have alots of great blue herons, but I think the swarms of comorants have eaten most of the fish out the river near here and the herons have moved on.
    I haven't seen a flicker here, but used to have one nest in our back yard in Toronto when I was a kid.
    We do have hairy and downy woodpeckers, chickadees, rose breasted grosbecks, purple finches, house finches, gold finches, blue jays of course. Lots of different sparrows, but other than the white crowned and white thoat... I don't keep track of all of them. The cardinals haven't been around in quite awhile. And we do miss the nuthatches. Perhaps due to the very high temperatures some birds have moved on to a different strategy. We tend to push the season so that we can be here in the fall to see the eastern towhe and juncos on their fall migration.
     
  11. dweiss17

    dweiss17 Registered User
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    Your posting reminds me...I used to drive my wife to have her hair done at a special place because she liked her hairdresser...I used to pass a large
    area where Canadian Geese would feed and rest on their flights to other locations. I do not think I would like to walk around where they did their
    stopover resting. The numbers were fairly huge.
     
  12. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Just had a look at my baby bunnies and momma was in there with them, feeding them. I think they will be OK. Just have to keep an eye on my dog:whistle:.
     
  13. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Great Harold, they sure are cute. Let's hope they survive ok.
     
  14. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    An update on the rabbits. It only took them 3 days to discover they could jump high enough to get out of their "cage". By then they were also pretty quick and independent. I haven't seen them all together since they left, just occasionally one at a time. My dog's been behaving, and letting them be when she spots one.
    Here's a recent picture of my green frog. Green Frog_0195.jpg He will likely take it on the road soon, if his behavior is consistent with his history here. Usually disappears during a major rain.
     
  15. dweiss17

    dweiss17 Registered User
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    While watching today's ball game on the screen just above Johnnie II's body. she was resting, eyes open, watching me, her Mr. Mom.
     

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