Frog sounds, etc.

Cynthia Mueller
Thu, 29 Jul 2004 08:29:40 PDT
One of the most magical hours I ever spent was in a small walled garden,
early in the morning, at Leeds Castle, England, listening to mistle
thrushes singing their songs....they are probably Europe's parallel to
the mockingbird, although I'm sure nightingales are popular creatures,
too.  I've never really heard them in action.  Another singer we don't
hear much of in Central Texas now is the whipporwill, or nighthawk, with
its plaintive cries that seem to take over all the landscape within
hearing distance.  I believe fireants are probably to blame for their

Fortunately College Station has "clean" and unpolluted little waterways
through the subdivisions, and these are populated with several species
of toads, tree frogs and real (leopard) frogs.  Bullfrog calls,
especially, remind me of fishing camps and nights spent camping out in
the woods.  By keeping these creatures nearby, aided by several species
of lizards, skinks and geckos and a few well hidden wasp nests, I'm able
to lead a relatively insect-free life outside in the garden.

Just this week I was trying to get several short, straggling pipevines
(Aristolochia fimbriata) to grow up a trellis instead of snaking around
on the ground inbetween plants.  I thought no butterflies would ever
notice them at ground level.  The next time I looked, the vines were
completely denuded, and I had 8 caterpillars of the Pipevine
Swallowtail.  By the time I returned from work with some cut switches of
another, larger pipevine, they had disappeared into the neighboring
plants, where I think they have the ability to change their diet for a
few days until time to pupate - not all species of caterpillars can do
this, but these will.

Hope veering off the 'bulb topic' is not too great a sin.

Cynthia W. Mueller
College Station, TX
Zone 8b-9

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