Friday, July 17, 2009

Da Count-All Creatures Great and Small

We had all sorts of fun at the lake but our friends' kids also had fun in our backyard finding all sorts of critters. The first discovery was woodpeckers. We sighted a big Pileated Woodpecker but missed a shot at it with the camera. He's a wily thing I've only spied 3 times in the 5 and a half years I've lived here. Later we saw a Downy Woodpecker which is much smaller. Our guests enjoyed seeing deer and tree rats squirrels too. We saw evidence of a raccoon getting into the screened in porch when we discovered his footprints in the pollen on the chair rail. Over the years we have often had black bears go through the neighborhood and occasionally they get into the garbage shed.

We found an Eastern American Toad. Generally the routine at House of Lime is catch a critter, take a picture, admire it a bit, then return it where it was found. I tend to think wild things should not be long removed from their natural habitat. The toad spend a few hours in a box and was fed a number of earthworms before being deposited back by the woodpile.

We also found this Ringneck Snake near the woodpile. Looks big doesn't he?

Not so much though. Here he is on the back of my hand. I'm not sure whose skin is scalier...

Here you can see how tiny the snake really is. I have to admit to be tempted to hang on to him a while. I have lobbied for a pet snake for some time. They are non-allergenic, low maintenance, and can still be cuddled. What? Don't give me that weird look. They are.

Here is a Red Spotted Newt. I can remember catching scads of these things in the woods when I was a kid.

I'm not sure which species this one is but it's cute, maybe a Northern Two-lined Salamander.

A lovely lady bullfrog. At least I think it's a girl because her tympanum (the round ear drum near her eye) is smaller than her eye. In males the tympanum is larger than the eye.

I have no idea what species of dragonfly this is. It intrigued me because I never saw a golden one. There were several other varieties flying around but this one was the only one willing to pose.

Isaac has been a critter catcher since he was 2 years old and gently snagging crickets by their hind legs. We've seen all sorts of interesting creatures over the years. Some finds have been rather rarely seen animals and it impressed the naturalists at the local environmental center that Isaac had found them. It was a bit of a bonus to have seen so many different things all in a couple of days.


misticblu said...

Kudos to the catch and release method. The colorful newt is new to me.
I LOVE SNAKES and have a myriad of pics to prove it!
What a successful outing!!

Jazz said...

Ohhh bugs and critters! I love snakes and frogs.

G-Man said...

..."She turned me into a NEWT"!!!

Suldog said...

Way cool photos. I'm not a big one for snakes, but that's about as cute as a snake can get, I suppose.

I've mentioned your name, and quoted you, over at my place. There is no monetary recompense for this, unfortunately, but the fame accruing to you will be astounding, of course.

Margie said...

Tree rats? We simply refer to them as 'Rat Bastards' because of their seed pilfering ways.

Funny how size is an issue with me and snakes. When I saw how tiny he was I just wanted to hold him and cuddle him and call him George.

I can't wait 'til 'Nature Girl' wakes up so I can show her all your finds... And I think that last critter might be a 'Lace-Wing Damselfly.'

NYD said...


Hate it when someone beats me to a Monty Python quote.

Lime, I'm confused. Is there another baseball team in NY?

How's this for a word veri

demyth (Gods honest truth.)

Cocotte said...

I don't think we have any of the red newts here. GREAT photos!

Desmond Jones said...

Lime, you are the Mistress of Taxonomy! (How do you ID an Eastern American Toad? By his accent?) And your (and Isaac's) powers of observation are without peer!

Nice job playing with 'perspective' on the snake. That is one tiny slitherer (I'll stop just short of calling him 'cute', tho. . .)

And G-Man beat me to the Monty Python bit, too ("I got better. . .")

(And Margie, I'll refrain from making any comments pertaining to 'snakes' and 'size makes a difference'. . .)

lime said...

misticblu, snakes are just so cool aren't they?

jazz, yay!

gman, ...i got better

suldog, fame accrual? i'll be right over!

margie, yeah, that snake was hard to let go. thanks for the help on the species of the insect.

nyd, monty rules. as for NY other team worth even thinking about.

cocotte, like i said, i can remember that variety being very prolific when i was a kid.

desmond, lol on the toad accent. and i responded to gman before seeing your comment, dangit. as for snakes and size, there is a point of diminishing return.

Anonymous said...

Very cool critters, although I could leave the snake in the grass... not a fan, but respect them from afar!

Awesome Count!

S said...

Well there ya go, a pet that wont make you sneeze....snakes!
But come on, why not go for a 15 foot boa or something and learn to dance with it?

lecram said...

Love this count! Yes... I too am a fan of critters around the homestead (sometimes to the chagrin of my friends). That whole "co-existing" thing has always been a part of my life too. :)

Ananda girl said...

Oh what a great back yard! I don't have nearly that many critters. I can see why they were so entertained.

Thanks for the photographs. I loved looking at these guys!

Craver Vii said...

Nice collection. Holy smokes! That brown salamander looks like Randall Boggs!!

RennyBA said...

Must have been great fun. Good thank your return it - when I was young, I always brought them home and Mom was not always thrilled :-)

What great photos - you've really captured them well!

david mcmahon said...

So MANY critters, Lime! You're a genius.

But I knew that already ....

Jocelyn said...

Sweetheart, the thing is: you'd tie-dye that poor snake and kill it by Sunday. It's best to let it slither free.

Oh, and for calling squirrels "tree rats," I re-avow my love of you.

Mona said...

wow! That is one stuff I would not be able to 'handle'!

~Dragonfly~* said...

Great photos, skills and environmental ethics!!! In PA all reptiles and amphibians are protected. It's okay to bring them in for a day or two, but you must put them back where you found them.

The red spotted salamander is a true find!!! The other one is a red backed salamander, more common.

I love the golden dragonfly... there are so many different ones... but I don't think I've ever seen a golden one either. I'm fairly certain it is a dragonfly and not a damsel fly... This one seems to be catching wind in its wings, keeping it's balance, but the way to tell is when they are at rest. A dragonfly rests with it's wings flat, out to the side. A damselfly will rest with it's wings straight up, together over it's back.

If I had known you wanted a snake so badly... I would have allowed you to snake sit my three for the summer!!! With me being gone, they haven't gotten a whole lot of attention. Love the little ring neck. Better to find snakes around the house than mice or rats in them!!!

Lot's of fun for sure!!!

lime said...

solitaire, i prefer snakes to people who behave like them

s, there are jokes to be made about the sizes of various snakes and what i prefer but this is a family blog:P

lecram, i am not surprised :)

ananda, lots to enjoy if you're willing to look a little

craver, now i feel compelled to look for sully and mike!

renny, my father tells the story of having a little snake in his shirt pocket crawl out during dinner and mortify his mother

david, thanks!

jocelyn, lol, my tie dyeing skill ends at fabric.

mona, you'd learn;)

dragonfly, ah thanks so much for some clarification especially on the insects. i thought you might be the one to know :)

Hilary said...

These shots are fantastic. I'm not one for the creepy crawlies.. at least not on my person, but they sure do make for fine photos. Nicely done. :)

Malicious Intent said...

What a lot of cool find critter wise. This year in our development it appears that the squirrels have lost the big as the overlords and we have been over run with rabbits. Let me tell ya what it is like walking two rescued race track grey hounds when there are rabbits around every corner looking at you as if you stepped onto their turf!

I would say go for a snake! We have a really pretty orange, red and yellow corn snake who had made his way up to 4 feet long so far. You are so right about the allergy free deal. Scroll down on this post to see #2 wearing him as a turban. He has been handled a lot and is a good sport. Not one attempt to bite in 2 years. He also makes no noise and is really low maintenance. And as I always say, more fun to play with than a slinky.

Few years ago we found a turtle walking through, which is rare here. We took him somewhere were we felt he would be safe from traffic.

Wildlife is definitely a lot of fun and great to learn from. Glad you had such a good time with the critters.

Sue said...

Have you seen the movie "Ghostbird"? it is about a woodpecker that may or may not be extinct.

And that snake! my little brother is terrified of snakes..big or small.

Melissa said...

Isaac sounds like a cool one. When I was a babe my brother would always bring some amazing find home that would make me scream.

Cheesy said...


Palm Springs Savant said...

I hate snakes.
Anything but snakes.

secret agent woman said...

You have some of my favorite creatures here, and I also follow the ctahc, photo and release policy. That little snake is adorable.