Archive for November 17th, 2009

My pond

In all the literature about creating a safe haven for wildlife, making sure there is a source of water is emphasized.   That, and the love of water and the sounds of water flowing caused me to create the little pond that is out in the corner by the vegetable garden.

I adopted one of my favorite sayings from the movie “Field of Dreams”:   “If you build it, they will come.”   I still remember the day after I installed the pond liner and filled the pond with water.   The following morning, there were little water striders on the surface.   Where did they come from?   How did they know there was a pond?

My yard is alive with birds.   When I look out my kitchen window, I see them flying back and forth to the pond, landing in the evergreens that hang over it to wait their turn at the bathing pool.   When I work in my garden, there is a constant stream of chat interspersed with fluttering sounds.

And yet, when you look at the pond, it seems deserted.

I was weeding the vegetable garden, and when I stood up I got to watch a cardinal preening and rearranging his plumage after his morning ablutions.   Just as I got set to shoot this picture, the two gold finches who had been sharing the fence with him took off.   I think they disapproved of all the water he was spraying around as he shook his wings.

His girlfriend was down by the bathing pool, thinking about availing herself of the facilities.

Yes, there is a bird in there.   She is standing on the rock just above and left of the pool at the top of the waterfall.

Want another puzzle in camouflage?   See if you can see the gold finch in the next shot.

Need a hint?   He is right in the middle of the shot, just to the right of the thickest forsythia branch.

This is why I can watch four cardinals and a dozen gold finches fly into the forsythia “Waiting for the Bath” bush and not be able to see any birds out there.

The pond surface is much easier to photograph.

About an hour and half before I took that picture, I was out clearing stuff out of the filter of the pond pump, and I noticed a juxtaposition of things that pleased my eye:   a little pond hunter spider and a feather from the finches floating amidst the fallen leaves.   “Ooh,” I thought to myself.  “This would make such a great shot.   Too bad my camera is in the house.”   I started off to fetch it, but got distracted by weeds and such.   When I finally had it, I had forgotten about the spider and the feather, and spent a good hour weeding the asparagus patch.   Then I picked a bunch of vegetables for my dinner and lunch:   stuff to add to the soup and ingredients for a fritatta.

By the way, those potatoes came out from under one very happy potato plant that was only about 9 inches tall.   I was expecting one potato.

Anyhow, the bathing cardinal reminded me of the pond photo op, and as I was trying to capture Ms. Cardinal, I remembered the feather and the spider.   I strolled over to the place where I had seen them last, and caught the picture above.   But I really wanted the spider.

As I crouched beside the pond, I noticed that the things on the surface gently circulate around the pond, and I started to wonder if I might not be able to locate the feather I had seen previously.   And the spider.    So I began a slow circumambulation of the pond, and after a while I found them both!

Of course, I didn’t really like where the spider was in relation to the feather, and so I started annoying her gently, trying to get her to move closer to it.  After a while, she got very huffy with me, and disappeared right before my very eyes, moving over the edge of the leaf she was standing on, tucking a bubble of air into her abdomen and pulling the surface tension of the water around her to make a safe haven.   Zip!   Safe from the predators above, confounding the nosy parker poking at her.

I was entranced.   Needless to say, I tried to get a picture of her under her leaf, but I need an entirely different camera for that!   Anyway, after a while she left her haven and proceeded on her hunt, trying to ignore me.

Then a tiny moth wing floated into the shot.

All in all I probably spent half an hour crouched at the edge of the pond.   The rain that had been threatening all morning finally started.  So I gave it up and went inside to the dusting which I have been avoiding all week.

If you ask Ruby, she’ll tell you her mother is certifiably insane.

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