Critters Around the Garden

July 21st, 2007

Lots of critters are out and about these days, challenging us to keep the garden from becoming a feast for them instead of us.  We pull various insects off the plants and try to keep the rabbits and moles out… I think it is never a battle we will completely win, but rather a shared environment through which a balance can be found.  But sometimes, enough is enough!  I pulled a few Tomato Hornworms off our tomato plants this morning… they are amazing. One day there’s nothing on the plants, and they’re doing fine… the next morning?  Several stems completely gone!  Here’s the picture of a little hornworm…

 Tomato Hornworm

This was an interesting caterpillar, called a Milkweed “Tussock Moth” Caterpillar.  We let several Milkweed plants grow nearby since they are a primary food source for Monarch Butterfly caterpillars also.  But the Milkweed Caterpillars were having a feast as well.  The color variations are amazing. Neat to see different species, and I don’t think they bother the garden plants at all.

 Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar

And here’s a picture of the second brood of Barn Swallows… they are almost ready to leave the nest.  Lately we’ve had many of them flying around… waiting for their new friends to take flight.  These guys eat an incredible number of flying insects, including mosquitoes!

Young Barn Swallows ready to leave the nest

A group of adult and juvenile Barn Swallows perched on our TV antenna, taking a break at midday.  They seem to gather in larger groups towards the end of summer before taking flight on their southern migration.  I have no idea where most of them nest during the Spring and Summer… with the second brood still in the nest at our house, that would only make about 9-10 total Barn Swallows.

Barn Swallows taking a break

2 Responses to “Critters Around the Garden”

  1. acmarquez7111

    I just want to say your pictures are breathtaking. I love your posts and have got to say you have the best looking catepillars I have ever seen. Keep it up! :D

  2. Ac- Thank you so much! It’s kind of you to mention… I’m still learning, and hopefull they’ll get better :) Thanks again for stopping by!

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