Happily Heron After

Last Summer Todd got a blazing hot deal on a couple of Koi fish for our pond. We had originally stocked it with gold fish, which were all sadly snatched by the hawk. So, when Todd decided to restock, he added more plants and rocks for additional camouflage and went to the local Petco to purchase a few more fish. Not only are the fish fun to watch in the pond, but keep the algae down in the hot summer. When he returned from the store, Todd was stoked to have found  some 4″ Koi there, mismarked for $1.99! They usually sell for about $25 at the size!!  He picked out 2 (he should have snagged a few more)…Damn! And I wish I had taken some better pictures!…Damn!

Anyway…

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 The Koi grew and thrived in their new environment and all was well…

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Until one day last January when Todd was cleaning out the pond. To his horror, he discovered they were gone! The pond had been de-koied :0

We spent the next days speculating about what could have eaten them! A fine meal indeed, for any desert predator during the lean winter months! Of course, the hawk was at the top of the suspect list, but our neighbor has insisted that he’s seen a raccoon about at night! (We simply have to get a night camera set up at some point!)  But, we thought there would never be any way to prove who dun it!

Until about 2 days after the fish-a-disappearance, it all became quite clear.

I walked out onto the porch and almost had a heart attack when a massive winged creature took flight from the top of our roof, overlooking the pond. And with a slow and powerful woosh….woooooosh of it’s 6+ foot wingspan, it was gone.

It was a rare sight,  A Great Blue Heron!!! A wetland bird in the desert! We see them quite a bit on the beaches down in Rocky Point Mexico. The only place you might see them occasionally, here locally, is on the golf courses. I got a snapshot of this one last time I went golfing….

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Here’s a picture I got of a Great Blue Heron on the beach in Mexico…

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I didn’t get a picture of our backyard visitor until the next day, when we caught him hanging out on our neighbor’s rooftop.

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It was spectacular sitting there, just hanging out. I guess he was hoping to find a few more ponds in the area, having depleted ours!

He stayed there for a good 15 minutes while I got some shots…

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So, I guess we won’t be getting anymore Koi, but we are thinking about restocking it with some 99 cent goldfish with which we could afford to occasionally feed our five foot feathered friend! Although, now that he has a taste for Koi, Todd’s Backyard may be beneath his culinary expectations!  I guess we will see!!

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Eat, Drink, Be Merry…and Some Other Shit

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The heat is starting to prickle here in the desert. This week promises temps between 100 and 110…. aaauuugggghhh! So, it’s not surprising that the feeders, water dishes and pond are popular hangouts for the local wildlife. Every morning and late afternoon we see it all! Birds, rabbits, squirrels, javelina, lizards, bobcat, coyote, and just the other day our ‘creature from the desert hollows’ (the toad), crawled out of his hole to find refreshment. When it’s just too hot to do anything else, just eat, drink and be merry!…

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Five finches find food at the fully filled feeder.

A quail couple chow down on the ‘Peckasso’ block seeder.

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Baby buns have fun nibbling in the cool grassy place.

A red winged black bird gets photo-bombed while stuffing his face!

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Hummingbirds flirt and hover around their honey hole hangout.

This Baltimore oriel takes a sip stop on his way-back-home Northern route.

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Drink…

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This starling likes to take a sip and a dip.

The bunny takes a drink to put the hop  in his hip!

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 The hawk  takes a water break and claims his domain.

 Mr . Toad  took a sip and a dip now just waits for the rain.

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The coyote gets a cool drink, soothing and calm.

A closer look reveals…yes it is…another photo bomb!  (Silly quail!)

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And be Merry…

 

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 The javelina , you would think, might want some water to swallow. But, they would rather tip over their drink and make a nice mud wallow!

Eat, drink and be merry, then what do we do?

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Guess the only thing left…. you just gotta poo!     (Pictured above, a lovely specimen of javelina shit 😉 )

Pond Stars

Around mid July, when the monsoons are in full swing, the humidity climbs and Todd’s Backyard starts getting lush. And, us lushes start getting a little lushier since the most entertaining activity (that doesn’t require a lot of sweat), is to sit on the porch with a cool drink and watch the desert wild’s. One of the main attractions this time of year, is a little oasis we like to call…the pond….because, for lack of better words, that’s what it is. It started as just a ‘water feature’, but over the years, Todd has added some water plants, and then some fish,  and Wa La!…. it’s a pond!

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It has become it’s own happy little ecosystem, and thriving under Todd’s TLC.

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Of course, as you might expect in the desert, the pond attracts a lot ‘wild’ life!  It’s become a nice day spa for our feathered friends, in need of a refreshing splash…

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Or a nap enhanced with the soothing sounds of trickling water…

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Also a source for liquid refreshment for all kinds of critters! The rabbits, assorted squirrels and javelina frequent the pond to get a drink. We’ve even seen the bobcat quenching his thirst ! (Where’s the camera when you need it!) You might think the bobcat might try his hand at fishing, but either he doesn’t know that these strange bright orange fish are food, or he just hasn’t seen them. The fish are elusive! Anytime anything or anyone gets close, they dart under the rocks.  So, unfortunately, we rarely get to enjoy watching them up close.

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Yes, the pond adds a calming sense of peace and tranquility to Todd’s backyard….

Until the sun goes down!…

Then, let the ruckus begin!

The explosive cacophony of pond partiers starts up just about the time we go to bed, keeping us awake until the party dies down. So, the other night, I took the flashlight and the camera to see if I could catch them in the act, possibly scaring them into silence!  As I approached, I was startled by the brazen display of indifference. I also had to  calm my gag reflex at the disgusting sight…

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Happily frolicking and splashing around, two slimy frogs where having the time of their life! Both croaking at the top of their lungs, with a chorus of others that were hanging around in the bushes.

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I am not a frog fan! But the longer I watched, it was kind of fun seeing them have fun. Their little slimy bodies gracefully swimming and diving in the clear, flashlight-lit water.

Now,  if these were Colorado River Toads, I don’t think I would have been so entranced. (I don’t believe these were river toads as they are much smaller, lighter green and have different eyes).

The toad creatures are hideous!

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 Yuck! (gagging) Toadally gross!

Unfortunately, we’ve discovered Jabba the Toad hanging out in the darker recesses of the pond’s filter system.

Hopefully we won’t discover him in the pond.

A little before and after….

This is one of Todd’s most recent projects…

I was thinking about this today, because I was drinking my afternoon sangria, enjoying Todd’s “Water Feature”…. About  a year ago, Todd  pulled the hot tub out and realized there might be the perfect spot for a little oasis style eye candy! . After many months of deliberation, moving rock around and pondering the pond, Todd hired an expert to  finish it off!  It was done last fall, but with winter coming on, we really did not enjoy it until…..Today?

All the critters are certainly enjoying!

And I’m sure that we’ll enjoy the sound of running water this summer, even when the water is boiling, it will still sound cool!