Just Once: Nature’s Surprises

caterpillarEvery so often something different appears or happens near the pond.

Last year it was a Belted Kingfisher. What a commanding presence with his big handsome crested head, his strong beak. He sat on the lowest branch of the spruce over the water, making a terrific din. Below him was a large dead snake in the water. I thought the kingfisher might have found the snake too big to handle and had dropped it into the pond and was now trying to retrieve it, but I’m told that is highly unlikely. He stayed there all day, then that was it, I never saw him again. I had to fish the snake out with my net.

Another time the surprise was a beautiful red fox. No hanging around. Just slipped past.

Then there was a bear – but fortunately that was on a neighbor’s property!

This year, there was the turtle. A bee sting was new to me too. And today: two fairly young deer with antlers. We see a lot of deer including, once, a three-legged deer, but I’d never, in the more than twenty years I’ve been here, seen antlered deer. The antlers were about eighteen inches, knobby rather than spiked points. Just beautiful. I reached for my camera, but they were already gone. Good. Hunting season is not so very far off.

frogs in water hyacinth


Nature’s Course

garter snake

garter snake

Did I see two garter snakes? Or the same snake twice? The first was under the pump cover. It was small and wriggled away in an instant.

The other (or the same one) slithered over the patio as I was trying to clean some of the mossy paving stones. This one looked bigger – or was that because I saw more of it?

An agitated squeaking from the edge of the pond. The grasses rustled and I caught sight of another snake – with a tiny frog in its mouth. More squeaking. I know I shouldn’t interfere with the course of nature but I stamped my foot, hoping that would frighten the snake off.

The snake leaped right into the air, tiny frog still in its mouth, landing in the pond. It rippled over the surface of the water towards the outlet. By the time it slid over the rocks, red tongue was flickering in and out, the frog was gone.

The Firsts of Summer

earth pond with fishSo many wonderful firsts of summer: the first firefly, the first croak of a bullfrog, the first flower, the first swim in the earth pond… This week? The firsts that say fall is on the way: picking the first ripe blackberry (early this year), the first red leaves appearing on the trees, the first buds on the Japanese anenomes, a first something in the air.

Of Rain And Change and Hummingbirds and Witches

turkeys perched in tree in the rainAs the rain comes down, a flock of seven or eight wild turkeys fly up into the trees alongside the stream for shelter. I hope that’s a good idea – a tree beside the pond has just fallen. Not right down. The trunk broke off and hit the ground but the upper branches caught in the trees beside it. There was no warning, and not even much wind, just a loud crack and down it fell. Those turkeys are huge, I hope the trees can take their weight. What a noise they make as they Continue reading

Pond Greetings


A day lily dips to the water, dragon

flies flit through red bergamot,

a white butterfly too.

white butterfly

In the woods nearby, a chain

saw roars into life, calling out

greetings to the frogs. One, large,

fearless, answers.

green frog and reflection

Then another and another and

another. Beneath the water, a tadpole flexes

his new hind-toes, and

waits.tadpole with hind legs

Turtles and Territory

turtle in the earth pond


I saw the turtle again yesterday evening, floating serenely on the water’s surface. I think it’s a Painted Turtle because of the red markings.

I’ve read it’s a destructive creature. It’s certainly made a mess of the bulrushes at the water line. I’d thought it was the deer although they’ve never gone for the bulrushes before – but no, it’s the turtle. I hope it doesn’t go for the day lilies which are now coming out. The tubing has popped out of the pump for the frog fountain – that’s never happened before. Did the turtle think the tubing was a juicy root? Continue reading