If you haven't already certified your garden as a wildlife habitat let me tell you that it is very easy. All you have to do is to provide food water and shelter for the various animals that live in your neighborhood.
Two evenings ago we were having dinner outside at dusk and a large owl came swooping down and landed in a tree. We both looked at each other and said "wow" and then talked about how we enjoy so much wildlife in our garden. We hear owls calling every night. Judging by the number of mice and cotton rats this is pretty good hunting territory. I caught this little guy in the potting shed. He had been shredding gomphrena flowers and making a big mess. I'm not sure what he is but when I let him go he hopped away just like a kangaroo. He probably came back the next evening unless he became dinner for the owl.
Or maybe this snake. Our rocky terrain and dry stone walls are just the kind of habitat the snakes prefer.
For a couple of weeks the wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) have been visiting the open area around the house. The other day there were turkeys and deer feeding together. It was quite a sight to see 20 or more turkeys moving around pecking at the ground and mingling with the deer. I might like to invite them into the garden to eat my snails but I'm afraid they might make quite a mess.
Last June they certainly had a good look around.
They are looking remarkably healthy with their iridescent bronze feathers. Thanksgiving dinner for someone I suspect, unless they stay pretty close to this house.
While deer and turkeys are not welcome to come in through the garden gate the anoles and lizards are welcome. These fence lizards don't usually pose for the camera unless you sneak up on them.
Not so the anoles, who are more than happy to have their photographs taken.
I wish I could capture all the butterflies, monarchs, sulphurs, fritillaries but they just don't sit still for me.
Our bird visitors are numerous. Wrens, mockingbirds, scrub jays, doves, hawks, chickadees and various seasonal birds, humming birds and cedar waxwings. The wrens are very busy at the moment and are always in the potting shed. I think they are looking at the old bird house which is on the shelf after being replaced by a fine English bird house. They turned their noses up at it last spring!
We'll never forget the foxes who moved into our garden whilst we were away this summer. They returned every morning for about a week and then our comings and goings obviously were disturbing their daytime sleep so they moved on. I hope they found another safe haven away from the coyotes.
Of course there are some who are not welcome. I just can't find anything good to say about the harlequin bug. I don't think anything eats these stink bugs and they can devastate crops overnight. They are particularly fond of the brassicas but don't stop there. I would probably reduce the numbers if I removed all the alyssum, which I was surprised to find is a brassica, but I do so love this sweet smelling and low growing plant. There is nothing for it but to keep a vigilant eye and try to hold down the population by removing any I see. The adult can over winter and I have removed a few this past week.
A few aphids are OK but a recent hatching on the new growth of pyracantha caught me by surprise. Not a ladybug in sight! Another reason not to prune too late in the year.