Tag Archives: spring

Springtime Garden Wildlife

1 Nov

Dear Reader:

I am watching the brick pathway closely. Earlier in the morning I scattered a handful of bird seed mixed with cat biscuits across the back yard to attract the Spotted Doves that frequent the surrounding trees and bushes. The doves appear and start to feed but there is another visitor!

A little grey face peeks from the foliage near the path and after a few moments the animal emerges; a young rat. The timid creature nibbles a few seeds then starts to climb the trellis where I have nailed some apple and orange pieces to attract parrots and wattlebirds. Eventually the little rodent settles in a hanging basket where leftover pieces of fruit have lodged after the birds have eaten their fill.

Leaving the rat to its breakfast wander around the garden and look for the smaller creatures that we often disregard or fail to see. On a daisy bush I spot a Lynx Spider waiting for prey. These small predators are quite common. If you look on or below flower petals you will see them patiently waiting for small flies and other invertebrates to land near them. They pounce quickly and its all over. Lynx Spiders still produce silk to bind their prey but they are ambushers rather than trappers.

Spring is the season of new life and two of the more common garden birds are tending to their young. A Blackbird lands on the newly weeded lawn and takes advantage of freshly turned earth. Rather than eating the grubs it finds the bird, a male, takes its prize back to the Lilly Pilly tree where it has a nest with newly hatched young.

Now that the rat has disappeared from the hanging basket, two Red Wattle Birds takes up station between the oranges I have spiked to the top rail. At first, I think it is the male and female pair I have been watching in the garden for the last few weeks. Peering through the long lens I realise that it is an adult feeding a fully fledged juvenile. Just another example of Spring’s promise in the garden.

All this eating and feeding reminds me of the breakfast I haven’t yet tasted. With a bowl of cereal in hand and my old cat resting on the lawn, I wait for one last wildlife moment before putting the camera away. It comes in the form of a New Holland Honeyeater which is nesting in a bottlebrush tree. The bird emerges from a tangle of foliage and settles on a garden sculpture. A quick look around and the dainty little bird flies back into the tree to refuel on blossom and nectar. A nice way to end this morning session in the garden.



PS: The old cat is no longer a danger to birds or other garden wildlife. They seem to realise that this once deadly predator is now just a spectator.

Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles


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