Welcome to a scene that was going on in this pond the other morning! It is mating time for more then the birds and the bees right now!
Some background. We put in the ponds for our dogs to cool off here on the hot days in the High Desert here in Oregon. A couple years went by and we noticed more and more aquatic activity was happening! Since berries need a good water source and we like berries, we put in Raspberries. Well, then we noticed the birds really liked the berries more then we did!
We noticed more and more birds were showing up! Migrating birds and the birds who would stay around all year! The dogs did not mind getting into the ponds with the birds, then came the frogs!
Along with the frogs Dragonflies came to eat the mosquitoes and other such insects. Cool! Then we thought why not put in some Cattails? So we did! Of course the dogs like to break the Cattails, this did not stop the Cattails from growing and blooming. The Cattails of course brought their own visitors!
Then came the butterflies! The butterflies being attracted to our flowers and of course the ponds are very popular! The Butterflies started laying eggs. Cool fine by us!
Different Frogs and Toads started showing up..... how they showed up is a mystery!
After four or five years of life as normal, the California drought came on strong! This drought got us thinking of our water use! Even though we pay good money for the ranch and farm run off water, I choose not to use this water. I have done my own little experiments with the run off water and found out it just has to much, "stuff", in it for a healthy organic garden.....
Our town is good at alerting people when alga and insect killer is placed into the run off water, however I am not easy to get a hold of. The towns phone call message just does not get to me. This of course is all my responsibility, so to make a long story short.... I am not going to kill off my aquatic wildlife and the Butterflies etc. because I choose not to answer the phone every time it rings.
So, if I can not drink the water neither is any of the critters I have here at the house!
Because of this strait I seam to have inherited of being head strong about clean water here at home we felt we needed a way to help with the water issue that would help with the price we were paying for water every month, the drought conditions we were going to have to deal with sooner or later, and the responsibility I placed myself into by being a place for the wildlife to come to and be a healthy place for them to be...... we got in the truck and headed south through Redmond then Bend Oregon to find something that we could place into the ponds to help conserve water.
We already checked Madras Oregon looking at kiddy pools, livestock watering equipment, anything that would conserve water. This area does not have big huge chain stores do we want such things?? I was on the computer when Guy was at work looking at different things that would help. Coming across these prefabricated ponds.
We looked these over on the computer thinking there should be a way we could burry these into the natural ponds we got going on?
We chose these prefabricated ponds that were not as big as our natural ponds, though they should help with the water issue? Guy dug out the natural ponds we thought deep enough.... If we new what we had under the soil I am sure Guy would have been a tad bit more careful!
The Spadefoot Toad spends most of its time underground. We never new we had such a creature here! We only found out we had the Spadefoot Toad here when we , or um Guy put in these prefabricated ponds and this funky looking frog was found in one of the prefabricated ponds.
I contacted the state of Oregon for I could not identify this creature that showed up! Then the state of Oregon contacted a scientist and the rest is history. If it were not for our dogs being hot in the summer, the California drought, our concerns of the water issue, how easy it was to contact the State of Oregon, we would have never known we had this Toad here at home!
I personally do not think that female there looks like the male! Some of the photographs I have, there is a whole series of photographs btw, the female does resemble him some..... however you can see for yourself! Hopefully someone smarter then I will show up and can tell me more about this situation? I will keep my eye out for eggs then tadpoles as I always do.
I do wonder, identification of the creatures that show up here at home , or anywhere for that matter that I photograph are not always that easy to identify. At one time I called all the frogs we have here at home the Pacific Tree Frog for they are so common! Can not do that anymore......
Night time here at home can get rather noisy! Well day time to for that matter! Some of the creatures here get used to me and do not care if I am standing next to them or not. Their instincts to breed is so great they get to the point of not caring that I am right there or not! The Spadefoot is getting easier to photograph only because of the shade and I do not feel the Frogs or Toads can see me at all times?
The older Frogs and Toads just don't seam to care! Some of the smaller ones do run and hide. We have to be careful of moving rocks for whatever reason we would move the rocks for..... AND since nothing here is in a cage they can come and go as they please. The Frogs and Toads from here do show up in other peoples yards, property.
Where our little ponds are is protected from predators. Cats are the biggest predator around. Other then cats are snakes!! Snakes can and will wipe out the entire population!! So I keep watch of snakes, which also smell is needed. Snakes stink! The common gardener snake gives off this stench to protect itself. It really stinks!! Once you get that stench tattooed in your brain it is hard to forget it...
Birds, birds will eat the Tadpoles. However we have so many tadpoles here at times ..... I have not noticed any birds taking and eating the bigger Frogs and Toads. Does not mean they don't, I just have not observed this behavior. If I did more then likely I would have photographs or do my best to get photographs haha!
I have not observed the Frogs or Toads eating others either.... again does not mean they don't, I just have not seen it!
Attracting such wildlife was not hard to do! Heck, as you have found out we attracted such things not on purpose at all! We just felt sorry for our dogs who wanted to cool off during the hot summer months! Which BTW the dogs still cool off in the ponds the best they can with the prefabricated ponds in the way! The one Mastiff is just funny, he will get into the one pond and get his chest and belly wet and dunk his whole head under the water!! Then of course come to me to wipe on my cloths.... little (big), stinker!!
Thank you for coming by and checking out these photographs that I took the other morning!