Friday, June 10, 2011

The Critter Friendly Backyard

Critter Friendly Habitat
Critter friendly habitat usually looks something like in this photo. Messy. Long grass. Piles of grass clippings. Palm fronds. Plants allowed to grow where they will. Dead trees left standing, falling when they're done rotting.

Although I do admit that sometime in the near future the foambark tree, the dark green ferny looking one hugging the mandarin skeleton, trying to muscle into the middle of this little stand will have to be cut out. Foambarks (Jagera pseudorhus) grow entirely too large, up to 15 metres, and throw too much shade for a small yard.

In amongst the long grass there are skinks of a couple of different species. Lots of insects.

In the cooked mulch there will be beetle larva, worms, and native cockroaches. On the sheltered side of the mulch pile there usually are a bunch of fungi, often one of the smaller Coprinus (Inkcap) species.

Rainwater collects in the palm frond where bees land butterflies like to drink. In summer I store palm fronds bowl shape down, against mosquitoes.

The green plants, turmeric and nasturtium, support grasshoppers which in their turn support insect eating birds and a praying mantis.

The rotting drying dying mandarin tree skeleton supports three or four different types each of mosses and lichens - the jury is still out on the one which is either a moss or a lichen. Dozens of insects. Skinks under the curling-up bark. At least three different species of fungi. A still unidentified wasp ovipositing her eggs either under the bark, or into caterpillars under the bark.

Butterflies are being hatched on the bushy twigs of the tree trying to survive. An epiphytic fern wanders through the mosses. Vast herds of tiny white insects graze over the bark.

At the foot of the tree, in the mown grass, another species of Coprinus, pops up its fruiting bodies every day slightly warmer than the average.

It's a kind of a jungle!

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