Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Wildlife in the Operation Pollinator Plots!

It's not all bees, syrphid flies, and butterflies in the OP sites.

We also have many vertebrates taking advantage of the refuge Operation Pollinator provides on golf courses, and most of the time I love to see animals in the sites while we're out surveying them.  We regularly scare off rabbits, chipmunks, and golden finches during our early morning visits.

Last week we found a few very special visitors nestled in a bunch of purple coneflower.

What could it be?

A nest!

And inside the nest?

A single blue egg.

The most beautiful, pale blue with delicate watercolor splotches.


Three eggs!

And another nest with three more eggs, this time made between stalks of bergamot!

We think they're red-winged black bird eggs, based on some images we found online and the angry red-winged black birds squawking at us while we were taking samples in the plots.

Not all vertebrate visitors are welcome in the Operation Pollinator plots, however.

I have a varmint problem, folks.  Some major groundhog grief.  A serious woodchuck worry.

One of my sites is being absolutely destroyed by the fattest, most inconsiderate groundhog I have ever laid eyes on.

This plot is more or less a giant pile of dirt with a brooding hole right in the middle of it.

The darn thing is out sunning itself every time we approach the plots, and then scampers back into its hole before I have a chance to run it off.

I have a mounting fear of having one of my toes bitten off by a mean groundhog.  It almost happened to my brother once.

I don't have any pictures of the camera-shy beast, so here is an artist's rendition

How do I fix this?!  I am afraid of losing my toes!  And it's wreaking havoc!  HELP!

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