Pond – Late Spring, Early Summer

Catching up, since last fall.  The Minnows made it through the winter.  They patrol the pond, and are busy breeding under the water lilies – you see ripples coming from the edges of the lily pads.  Haven’t seen a blue gill yet – hmmmm.  Of course, there are frogs, toads, etc.  And flying birds.  And snakes.  And turtles.  And fishing birds – Herons.  The odd duck or two – they never stay.  And beauty.  So much so – I had to take some pics, and put em here.

Charlie says good bye …

The pond, cats, dogs, some water lilies and … muskrats?

Walking down to the pond this morning, without the dogs

The dogs - another time.

The dogs – another time.

as I got to within 80′ or so, I saw our two muskrat hunting cats (LittleShot and BigShot) peering out of the reeds blanketing the banks on the west side of the pond.

Cats were hunting in the reeds on the left side of this view

Cats were hunting in the reeds on the left side of this view

They were looking my way – to see if I had the dogs with me – as Charlie will go charging into the reeds after the cats – if I don’t catch him in time.

So glad they were able to continue their hunt in peace. I’ve seen them hunt in pairs before.  That’s so cool.

I saw lily pads from 3 of our 20 or so newly planted water lilies today.  Planted about a month back, most.  Some a week back.  Plus of course, the 15 or so returnees from last year …

It’s looking to be a good pond this summer – provided those two cats are able to work undisturbed.  And they are able to keep the muskrats from getting the upper hand.  (They will – they are tireless, patient, dedicated – and crafty – muskrat terminators) Those damn muskrats can clear a sumptuously planted pond of vegetation – in just a month or so – quickly turning it into a crappy mud hole.  If they aren’t stopped.  Love those kitties …

Canadian Geese Yesterday – abused water lilies today

Yowsa – went down to the pond this morning – and found 3 loose water lily pads floating.  Left a message for the muskrat trapper.  Then started to think a bit more – what else could do this?  And the light went on, and I started googling – yeah. We had Canadian Geese on the pond yesterday.  And today, water lily damage.  Hmmm.  And the various net gurus say – Geese love aquatic plants – including water lilies.  And especially young ones – which is all I have growing this early in the season.

We will see – whether it was geese or muskrats.

Fortunately, if it was the geese – they are easy to dissuade.  Simply start descending down towards the pond – and they take off.

Have a resident heron this year too.  Again.  But I researched them couple years back – and they do not eat water lilies.  This heron waits till I’m half way down the hill – then it flies up into the branches of the willow trees behind the pond – waiting me out.

Mid Nov – yard and pond

Pond in Late September

No Muskrats.  Only cats, frogs, water lilies, bugs, ducks and birds.  And two labs.  Here’s some pics of the fauna.  Never had any water lilies left by late Aug., in years past.  Much less all of them in late Sept.  And still thriving.

Looking forward to next year – as the cats continue keeping the muskrats out.  The water lilies will come back, stronger than ever.  And we’ll put in a handful of adult bluegills – and watch as they breed,  and glide between the water lily pads.  Bluegills brighten to their best colors, when they can swim about underneath water lilies.

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A gossamer reflection

So, it will be very very pretty, next summer – with lilies and blues (and cats – love those muskrat munchin cats).

Figured something out about water lily blossoms – why they’re so bright.  Their petals work like light pipes – directing sunlight down to their bases.  That’s why they just light up so.  The bugs must like that too – as they’re programmed more or less, to go into the light.

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Blue velvet and water lilies

 

Cats, water lilies and muskrats

I planted water lilies again, this year.

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Even though the muskrats cleaned us out last year – including all cattails, and most phrags.  Pretty much all the pond growth, eaten away at the roots.  Leaving a huge mass of dead rotting vegetation behind.

I tried trapping them last year – to no avail.  Got no muskrats.  And they got all living plant matter in the pond.

This brings me to the cats …

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No, not this one.  That’s Boris – and he’s never ever gotten himself even damp from that pond, much less wet.

These two guys …

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These guys, two of our outdoor cats that live on our back deck, more or less.  Little Shot (AKA Big Shot) and Big Shot (AKA Little Shot), pretty much twins,   Now Jerie …

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and I have seen those two all wet from the pond.

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And just a week or ago, we saw something quite surprising – one of those two cats walking out of the pond – dripping wet.

And 10 min later, while we were idly watching one of those cats stalking the edge of the pond – it leaped into the water in a high arc.  We couldn’t tell what it was after, or if it did indeed catch its prey.

But – those two cats were hunting something in the water.  And I doubt it was frogs –

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because we always have frogs – and the cats have never shown much interest in those frogs.

So, I’m thinking the cats have finished off my muskrats for me.

Optimistic thinking to be sure, but hey – I never thought I’d see wet cats, or see cats calmly walking out of a pond – or see them leaping into a pond – so – maybe.

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Also, none of my water lilies have been molested yet this year.  And the phrags don’t seem to be disappearing – but they’re harder to track.

Loving those cats.

Frog

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West Coast Morning Lilies

 

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The 4 lilies planted earlier this week, on the west side of the pond.  Shot in the morning … so flowers still closed.  Shhhh …

New growth’s evident.  Means they’ve happily adapted to their new pond.  Yahoo – I’d been looking for this.

The two ducks, plastic, came with the lilies.  They drifted together during the night.  Hmmm.

Lilies – Morning and Noon Flowers

Noon - Looking into a Gladstone blossom

Noon – Looking into a Gladstone blossom

Such beauty.  Click to zoom in.

Morning - Frog and flower

Morning – Frog and flower

Noon - Gladstone blossom

Noon – Gladstone blossom