Note from Farmer Al: May 13, 2019
Dear CSA members,
More Predators (part 2)
We also have several species of hawks. I love watching them circling high above the orchard hunting gophers and squirrels. And there are also falcons, which hunt small birds, (the ones who eat our cherries!)
Coyotes are more scavenger than predator. But they will go after easy prey like squirrels and rabbits. However I really appreciate the clean-up coyotes do for us: the ultimate predator is our hunter. A man with a shotgun. He can kill 20-30 gophers in just a few hours. He likes to lay the dead ones on the orchard road so, when passing by, I see them. The coyotes come in the middle of the night and clean them up. Whatever the coyotes miss the vultures and bustards will eventually find. Natures re-cycling itself.
My favorite predators are insects. (The good guys eat the bad guys!) One example of this I witnessed just a few days ago. It's fava bean season, and people (me, especially) aren't the only ones who love 'em. Aphids go crazy for fave bean leaves, blackening the succulent green leaves in just a few days. But aphid
infestations are soon discovered by lady bugs. And we reinforce the army of lady bugs by bringing in
battalions of lace-wing eggs and sprinkle them like pepper on the fava plants. It soon becomes a fave feeding frenzy: aphids eating leaves and lace wings/lady bugs devouring aphids. Truly an amazing sight.