Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Life at the Pond

I don't recall as to whether I have mentioned how hot it has been here?? I think that we are way past 20 days already this summer that have been over 100 degrees. .and many of those days WAAAY over 100. .like over 105. .and several over 110!! Saturday I enjoyed an auction in town until mid afternoon. .and since it was quite hot outside. .I was quite content to sit inside for a while to cool off. The first thing I noticed when I got home was how hot the birds thought it was too! Cami and I really had fun watching all the different bird species come in for water and a cool bath.
This Western Meadowlark was the first one that we saw. These guys usually sit on fence posts along the highway, or at least 1/2 way down our long driveway. They perch on fence posts and wander on the ground searching for insects (I wish they would come up to the garden and get the pesky bugs in there). I have never seen one close to the house, and he rapidly had my attention when I spotted his bright yellow belly at the base of the waterfall gulping!
In fact, as I looked around, I noticed at least 6 meadowlarks sitting on the front lawn under the trees.
And if this isn't pathetic. .They were sitting there with their wings lifted out away from their bodies (pretty much like we air out our armpits when we are REALLY hot!!) with their little beaks wide open. They looked miserable!
Here is another first!! This scissortailed fly catcher came in for water too. I've never appreciated one up close and personal like this. .and they really are a strikingly beautiful creature, with their crisp colors and a touch of red to the upper wing.
Even the mourning doves were up in the yard under the shade of the trees. I didn't see this one at the pond, but wondered if it had been in there. .they don't usually come so close to the house either.
The Baltimore orioles actually come to the pond pretty frequently. .
But I just couldn't resist snapping their pictures because they are just so darn pretty!
I don't know what this little thing is. I looked through my books for quite a while trying to ID her.
I'm sure she is a "her" because she is so nondescript. There were a couple of likely species. .and I'm hoping that she might be a female blue grosbeak. I saw a male grosbeak several times last summer, but not yet this summer. .so I wouldn't be sure. Anyone else have any ideas. .the pictures aren't great. .but she was a very dark brown, with some markings on the wings.
We also saw a pair of eastern Kingbirds come by just for a few minutes. We have Western Kingbirds that reside here. .and I had no idea that they could both be around. .The Western are in the western 1/3 of Ks, and the Easterns are in the eastern 2/3 of Ks. .and we are just about on the cutoff for both! So that was a fun sighting.

We are still working the kinks out of the pond. The water is currently a very disgusting green color. .and my fish are no longer readily apparent. I have tried barley pellets and extract (which take longer to work) and also in desperation have used algaecides. Hopefully once I get the planting balance right IN the pond. .the algae will take care of itself. I ordered a bunch of oxygenating submerged plants last week, which made it here by Friday. Saturday afternoon I put on my swimsuit. .and while the boys were gone and Cami was sleeping (so they wouldn't know that I was performing the FORBIDDEN act of getting IN the pond. .especially with a swimsuit on) I gingerly got into the pond (of which I couldn't see creatures or bottom. .EEEEEWWWW) and stuffed those little bunches of plants into the gravel on the bottom. I also discovered that the skimmer wasn't working properly, but as of this morning early, I think it's going to do it's job. .so maybe things will clear up! Even so, the critters certainly seem to be making good use of the pond. .and last week we did a search and remove of a rather large snapping turtle. The fish are safe and sound. .and getting fat. .so I look forward to being able to look out and see them again.
Tomorrow is our big day at the fair. We are hoping it goes well! Have a great week!
Stop by soon to see rundowns of the kids' projects!


  1. I'm thinking they should pass out bottles of wine to the parents when the kids get their premium checks.
    I can't believe you got into the pond after you'd had a snapping turtle in there! HAHA! Have any baby fish that you've noticed?

  2. That pond is an oasis for all of you. The birds have got to appreciate it. I'll bet you have other creatures drinking there at night too. Hope you get the water cleared up soon. Do you have any floating water plants like the water lettuce or hyacinths? I've heard they help keep the water cleaner.

  3. Oh my goodness! You are brave to wade in the pond...not that there is a crocodile in there or anything! But it's just that feeling of not being able to see the bottom. So, I congratulate you on getting all those plants in! I am impressed with all of your bird sightings. That is so great that you have lots of feathered friends coming to visit the pond. I like the photo of the bird with his beak open and wings out! great shot!

  4. Your bird pics are awesome! I never have my camera when I need it. Your so funny, sneeking into the pond without the kids seeing you.Ha ha I used to do the same thing because if they saw you it would be all over.I hope things clear up. Try to stay out of the heat!

  5. what a dedicated gardener! you plant everything, even the bottom of a pond! If you figure that female bird let me know, I think we have had a few too. DJ