As I’d hoped, the toads have been very plentiful around here.
I suspect it’s because the crickets are also plentiful. There are thousands of them. And some of those crickets are HUGE!!!!
Most of the toads I come across are pretty small as far as toads go – around the size of a loonie. I’ve learned to push the lawn mower a little slower in certain areas on the lawn so they have time to hop out of the way. I have also stopped the mower a few times to move a few stubborn ones.
Burton has been loving the ones that hop in and out of the catio. He never does them any harm – just pokes them with a curious paw (claws in too!), and follows them until they leave the confines of the catio. He likes chasing the crickets too, but I think he really prefers the toads.
The other night, I was wheeling the garbage bin to the curb and a GIANT toad hopped across my path.
Okay – he wasn’t quite giant. I have seen bigger (having grown up a country girl), but he was easily three times the size of the catio toads.
As I was trying to get pictures of him,he hopped into the open garage and I had to shoo him out with the broom. I didn’t want him getting stuck in there. There is probably enough crickets in there to keep him well fed, but I didn’t want to take the chance. Life is much better for him in the yard.
And speaking of garbage cans…
This big (about the size of a twoonie) beautiful Wolf Spider was hiding under my garbage bin on the previous garbage day. Actually, I don’t think she was hiding, I think I interrupted her hunt, as several large crickets ran out when I moved the bin too.
Fun fact: Wolf spiders aren’t called Wolf spiders because they are aggressive, but because they run their prey down like a wolf. They don’t build nests. They also rarely bite humans – usually if they do it’s because they’ve been surprised (ie stepped on) or provoked. After posing for a few pictures, this gorgeous girl went on her way in search of dinner.
And while I’ve mentioned crickets, I’ve mostly been talking about those big black ones, and their smaller brown cousins. But have you ever seen a cricket like this?
This is a black-horned tree cricket (a female according to my google search). When I took the picture, I thought it was some sort of Katydid. I was surprised to learn it was a cricket!
And last…it’s also grasshopper season!
This Spur-Throated grasshopper found his way onto the sun porch the other day. Thankfully, the cats didn’t notice or I would have had broken plants everywhere as they tried to chase him.
After getting a few shots, I captured him in a tea cup and put him out on the lawn where he could go on his merry way without worrying about any feline interest. (Though I imagine he still has to watch out for birds)
We’ve also seen lots of butterflies, mostly monarchs and white cabbages, though I don’t have enough blooming in the yard to keep them around long enough for pictures. I’ve also seen several Fritillary butterflies, but they move too fast for pictures so far.
The other joy is hummingbirds. The neighbour has a huge orange trumpet vine arbour (it’s massive!!) and the little hummers pass through our yard frequently to get to it. Interestingly enough, they seem to like the catio fence. The holes are just big enough for them to perch in, and they often stop there for a rest. A few have also stopped by to drink from my Physostegia. Of course, never long enough for me to get a picture… but I’ll keep trying!