saving lives, and front garden in spring



Yesterday I saved the lives of 5 insects that had fallen into the birdbath: 3 tiny flies, one small Christmas beetle and one small caterpillar. There was also an aphid, but I squashed it. Mercy doesn't extend that far.

I don't think it's going to make much difference to the alarming loss of biomass of insect populations. But it felt like a good thing to do and it was satisfying.

I have from time to time attempted to relocate small critters from the house to the garden. I've given up doing this as it usually ends badly. Like the time I broke the leg of the small lizard the dog was interested in. Similarly with the beetle in the kitchen. It panicked and kept trying to get away. It wouldn't crawl onto my hand so I couldn't take it outside. I gave up but I'm afraid I may have inadvertently harmed its delicate body.

Christmas Beetle, Anoplognathus sp.
Photographer: Ian R. McCann
Source: Museums Victoria

In contrast to this, rescuing drowning insects is easy if you manage to fish them out before they are dead. Insects float on the surface, unable to get away because of the water pressure. The rescued flies lay on my hand and moved their wings ineffectually. Because they were wet they couldn't fly. I moved into the sun. They dried out and eventually off they flew.

Sciaridae sp.
Source: What bug is That?


The beetle I fished out walked round and round my hand. I could feel the grip of its sticky legs. After a while I moved it onto a stick and watched it. It didn't move. I could tell this was not an optimal habitat, so I gently knocked it off the stick onto the earth.

The Christmas beetle immediately came to life, wriggling, tunnelling under the soil. I watched the earth move. Then it disappeared. Was it trying to recover its lost larvahood? Christmas beetle larvae live underground and feed on roots. Adults eat eucalyptus leaves. What was going on? Perhaps this particular individual behaved as it did because of post traumatic stress? Maybe I'm anthropomorphizing. Interspecies understanding and communication is not easy.

Here are some more photos of the front garden in spring.




Comments

  1. Loving the texture and colour in your garden.
    I try and save insects too. With mixed success. And escort spiders outside where they are safe from both the other human and the cat I share the house with.

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    1. Hi EC, So you have a spider escort service! If your cat is anything like my Potter was, anything that moved aroused her curiosity, assuming it was existing in order to be an object for her to play with.

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  2. If I were close I would kiss you! If only the world would realize that all life is interconnected and everything has value, we would all be a whole lot better off, and would not be in the pollinator crisis that now looms large. You example is exemplary and I cannot applaud it enough. Bravo!

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    1. Thank you, David. The older I get, the harder it is to kill anything. I don't know what kind of consciousness they have, but I am aware that even critters like bush flies and German cockroaches desperately try to get away when they realize they are in danger.

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  3. One does what one can. I rescued a bird last week. Apparently, it flew into Pipig's screened porch while I was cleaning out her litter box and I didn't notice. Pipig did and brought it in the house, crying to announce her triumph. The bird moved when she dropped it and, after, locking the cat in her porch, I attempted to pick it up to take it outside when it suddenly flew off toward the windows. I grabbed a food sized plastic container and with my husband's help, trapped the bird against the window, slid a piece of cardboard between the window and container, then escorted the bird outside. Oddly, he sat in the container for awhile before he took off. We've used the same approach in catching and releasing the lizards Pipig periodically brings into the house so, luckily for the bird, we have the drill down.

    Your spring garden is lovely. I hope the heat holds off and allows you to enjoy it.

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    1. Hi Kris, thanks about the spring garden. We have been having lots and lots of rain, and the plants are delighted and surprised and keep flowering. I think I forgot the benefits of a lot of water to the garden! Your removal system for critters sounds very efficient. I hope Pipig doesn't feel too deprived?

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  4. I rescue what I can from the house, spiders, birds, insects etc but I can't say that I have ever rescued anything from the bird bath or pond!
    Love the photos of your front garden , full of colour and texture.

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  5. such a wonderful garden.
    thank you for sharing of your series of beautiful photos.
    have a great day

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    1. Thank you, Tanza, so pleased you liked the photos.

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  6. Enjoyed the spring garden tour. The bugs, not so much.

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    1. Hi Linda, I know we don't agree about bugs. It's funny, I didn't used to like them so much ...

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  7. How pleasantly to see your summer garden, Sue. I did not know about Christmas Beetle and now I learned. It looks like our May beetles (Melolontha).
    Happy garden bloger's day!

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    1. Hi Nadezda, I didn't know about the May beetles. But for us Christmas is mid summer, and I imagine May is your summer too, so I suppose they both emerge in the warm weather.

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    2. A merry Christmas, dear Sue!
      I wish you joyful holiday with your family and friends, health and happiness.

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  8. Love the mix of orange and blue/purple flowers.

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    1. Thanks, Jason. I also love pink and orange combo.

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  9. Today's rescue list was a spider, I hope playing dead.
    I am looking for those foxtail ferns - I see them on blogs and have a space where they would work. Now to track down a nursery.

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    1. Hi Diana, They are fabulous garden plants, very hardy and forming Dr Seuss-like shapes when they grow up. They also don't seem to mind sun or shade. I hope you find them.

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  10. Oh, I always try to rescue them, too. Most of the time it works, even if they take some time to recover. We had a mosquito in the house the other day, believe it or not--in winter for us! That is one insect I generally don't tolerate--outside or inside. Your green, growing garden is a welcome sight!

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    1. thanks, Beth, it's wonderful how green and flowery the garden is. We've had a lot of rain and the result is prolonged flowering into December. I just read a fascinating article about mosquitos, that there are lots of different species, and they don't all cause disease, and most species haven't been described yet.

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  11. Obrigada pela sua presença lá na casa.
    E tenhas uma boa entrada de ano.
    Abraços.
    janicce.

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  12. I just googled Tim Low and he looks to be a prolific and renowned author. I will have to see what I can find of his on this side of the world. It is really good to see an Australian writer enjoy this kind of prominence. Thanks for the lead!

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    1. Hi David, It's satisfying sharing info across the world!

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  13. Lovely garden, I try and save insects to well some of them not mozzies they are jut to annoying.
    Merle............

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    1. Hi Merle, lovely to hear from you. I know mozzies are annoying, but I've been reading about how important biodiversity is, so I'm going to try to even save mozzies and aphids! It's an intention, but whether I'll manage to achieve it remains to be seen!

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  14. Your front garden look wonderful Sue. I cannot understand why critters choose to wander inside the house when there is such a lovely garden for them to live in :-) We have a designated little container to catch critters in the house and transport them outside unharmed.

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    1. I often transport them outside, but sometimes wonder whether the house is their refuge and maybe we need to share? Daddy Long Legs seem to like living inside.

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