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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Predators in the Garden: Part 2

Late summer seems to be the time that I begin to find lots of predators in my garden. While the most common is usually different sorts of spiders, I also get this one which I'm really happy to have...even if it isn't the best or prettiest looking.

This creature is an assassin bug. Which one, I'm not sure as it is fairly large. It isn't pretty, but it does a great job. I've found it in previous years chomping down on squash bugs.


I practically had to stand on my head to get this shot and it still isn't the greatest, but you can see that the hors d'ouevre for this one is a Japanese beetle which makes it very welcome in my garden indeed.

Sometimes, how a bug looks is how people judge it. I showed my neighbor this one as I was so happy to have it. She told me a couple of days later that she killed one in her garden.




Aghast, I asked her why she had killed it. "It was ugly," she said. I'm afraid that's how people also react to bats, snakes, and possums as well.



Then there's the last predator in my garden. He's not ugly, he's pretty cute. . . and cuddly.

It's Lemmie. Lemmie got reprimanded from me last night as I was working picking up things in the garden. All summer, I've had House Wrens living at the back of my garden. They've raised at least two clutches, but I have no idea where their nest is. I think it is somewhere in the asparagus patch, but since I let it go to seed, I can't see or get into that area.


Last night, I heard quite a ruckus. Much more so than I usually hear from them when I'm back there. I saw Lemmie in the garden and ran over, only to see the back half of a wren sticking out of his mouth. I yelled at him and got him to drop the bird which fluttered into the weeds as I scooped Lem up and ran him back to the house.

I went back and couldn't find the wren, so I can only assume that it was OK, although severely shaken. I'm saddened as I haven't heard either of them in the last couple of days. I think that the pair went on to less scary locales.

You have to understand that I am a fairly responsible cat owner. I dislike it when the cats go outside and prefer that they stay indoors. The two old ladies, Aceituna (11) and Angel (10) will go out and sit in the sun and watch me as I work away....looking very amused by my activities as if to say "Silly human, why should you toil? Look! Sitting here and flicking one's tail is far preferable to what you're doing."

Lemmie, however, was a dumped cat. Someone abandoned him in the area last summer. He had been neutered and had his front claws removed. After trying to several weeks to find the owners, calling shelters, Vets, and putting an ad in the paper, I decided to keep him, especially as I was concerned about him being out at night with no claws. There are lots of dogs, coyotes and a fox family living in the neighborhood.

While I try to keep him inside, he obviously had been an outside cat for quite sometime once. He is very tricky and is a grey streak, often whizzing by you just as you've opened the door to come in. Then, the game is on....chasing him through the garden where he stays just out of reach.

Usually he catches things which are easier....grasshoppers (seeing him with a blade of grass the grasshopper was on sticking out each side of his mouth was amusing), voles and mice are what I had seen him with before. I had no idea he could catch a bird...particularly a healthy one. Live and learn...

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Your kitty reminds me of our newest addition. Mouser is a stray that we are adopting in. She brought me a sparrow last week but it was not dead. Mouser was mewing with her mouthful to show off her prize and inadvertently dropped it. The sparrow wasted no time flying off between my legs which had my husband cracking up laughing. Because Mouser has not been to the vet yet, she will stay outdoors. I have Inky inside and I am not willing to risk his safety for the stray. After we get her to the vet, we will go from there. For now, she is doing an excellent job with the mice in the chicken barn.