This past year we've not seen much in the way of yard critters. Yes, we have had birds, many squirrels, rabbits, and even a baby rayken. Normally, we see an occasional snake or two, but not this past year. I think the squirrels are keeping them at bay.


Did I mention the squirrels... Well, they've been quite active. They seem to have taken a likin' to our Bluebird boxes. We have three, and the one that gets used most often must be tasty. Here's a pictures of the face of it.

Of course, this is a picture of the face of the bird house before it was repaired. I took the opportunity to fix this house during my annual bird Picture house clean-out. Yeah, I clean and spruce up the insides of them every year in February. The wood had a nice aged look to it. These bird houses have been up since the summer of 2003. In fact, they were put up right before hurricane Isabel.

As I was saying, though. I took the opportunity to fix the house while I had it down. The new face looks odd and out of place. But it should be in good form and start to blend in within a year or so. Here's a picture of the repair.


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Well, looky there. I was exiting the Garage-Mahal last night and what did I behold, a free-range yard bunny. This is a special bunny too, because it is the first one I have seen this season. I think it might be the same one I saw last year as well. The reason I think that is because it did not scurry away when I opened the door and it allowed me to walk by and within about seven feet of it. Other bunnies, I have seen in the past were somewhat skittish.

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I was walking into the Garage-Mahal this morning when suddenly there was a flash Picture of green before my very eyes. I was not sure what it was, but it was moving fast. A quick search around, and I found what flew within inches of my face. In fact, it was not flying at all, but jumping from just left of the front door to about four feet away on to the siding. It was this little, green tree frog. This is the first free-range green tree frog I have see this year.

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So... I was out this weekend doing what many people do on weekends - yard care. Picture This weekend was no different really; pick weeds, trim edges, poison the crud out of weeds in concrete seams, and cut grass. And that is where I found this fat, free-range yard toad. As I was mowing, I saw something move in the taller grass and I stopped immediately. It was a toad and I almost killed it with the twirly-bits under my mower. Fortunately, it moved at just the right time to get spotted and saved. I captured it and moved him/her to an area I had already cut and let him/her go.

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Another weekend - another yard critter saved from twirly-bits. Well, this Picture particular yard critter almost was crushed - not diced. In fact, I was backing up when I noticed this one about two-feet behind me. Of course, I stopped and moved this free-range yard box turtle to a safe spot under a shrub in front of the garage-mahal. I saw a box turtle in the yard last year too. I do not know if this box turtle is the same one I saw earlier, but it could be.

Other than squirrels and birds we have not seen very much in the form of yard critters lately... until last weekend.

Picture Picture

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Then when returning from a local store I saw this free range yard doe. Around 9 AM I started mowing the grass and saved this yard marbled salamander from the mower's twirly-bits. After chores were done, we noticed this yard bunny and rayken within a few minutes of each other. I should also let you know that my wife saw five tiny bunnies in our front yard this year too. Sadly the photograph was too dark to use.

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Last Sunday was August 14th. We are at that hotter than hot time of the year, and last Sunday was no exception. Picture Yes, mid-Aug to mid-Sep is the hot, muggy, sticky time of the summer in Hampton Roads. My bride and were going from the Garage-Mahal to the house through the attached garage when she spotted a humming bird trying to find a way out of the garage. Apparently, it flew in when the back door was open; perhaps to find flowers in a cooler place than the yard. It was mistaken and now confused. Even though the doors were still open, it was continuously flitting about the ceiling this way and that. It would perish if it did not escape soon. I needed to get it out of there! In so doing, we just kept it flying and would not let it land in hopes it would soon tire and we could capture it, give it some sugar water, and set it free. That is exactly what happened. After about five minutes of keeping it busy we noticed the hum of its wings slowing down. Soon it landed, and I reached over and put my hand around it. It squeaked, and tried to escape, but instead it got a sip of sugar water as can be seen in this picture.

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During the weekend just before Halloween 2016 we were cleaning up our yard when we found this Eastern Gardersnake. Picture It was sunning itself in a shrub near the top. My wife was just about to remove a dead twig from the shrub when she spotting the snake. It startled her a little and seconds later I caught him/her. I did get bitten in the process. I cleaned the bite well and no infection ensued. After a few pictures I let the snake go near our woods.