Monday, October 5, 2015

Today's walk report: 100515

While the past few days have displayed hints of fall (we even had .05" of rain yesterday) we're still due for at least another week of hot summer like conditions. The kind of weather which has put a serious damper on going out to take photos, walks generally being an evening adventure.


Hylephila phyleus
Peucetia viridans, bee catch on Vitex agnus-castus
closer shot, note the flies moving in to scavenge
Kalanchoe delagoensis
A juvenile Schistocerca nitens
and from the other side.


For the most part this wasn't a walk. Since we were schlepping a bunch of "extras" (like a tripod & beverages) up to a nearby hillside for this event we decided to take a car. We did however engage in some walking to get away from other people who also decided "our spot" for viewing the September 27th total lunar eclipse/Supermoon event was good for them too. The nerve.

The night before was as clear as could be but not this day. We sat around for sometime hoping for the best.

Disappointed and still plagued by "others" in our vicinity we went home. My girl spotted the Earth's umbra moving away from the living room window and we went out front for this.

Next thing we know, it's October.


Monarch on Vitex agnus-castus

This was disappointing. I saw what I thought was a hummingbird flying in from about 15 meters away (49'), moved in to about 7 meters and took a shot just to "see later." I didn't realize that there was a mating ritual going on between two common green darner dragonflies. The dragonflies flew in conjoined. I could have moved in for a much better shot.

Common green darner, Anax junius
Water flower and a tiny spider
Closer on the spider
Monarch on lantana

California towhee
Looks a little perturbed by my presence
Docken had brought some leftover carrots and bread to donate to the "critters."

This scrub jay had her covered and apparently told a friend.

These two both took off with a chunk of carrot in their beaks.

There were at least 5 monarch butterflies floating about, more males than females all competing to mate. It's lovely to watch the mid air dance they do.

From the other side of the pond (about 5 meters/16 feet) I thought I saw another pair of conjoined green darner dragonflies moving into the reeds for mating. It turned out to be something very different. This male was instead devouring what appeared to be some type of skimmer dragonfly. Despite my fascination this went on for a lot longer than I cared to watch.

5 image focus stack of a gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus)
different angle

That's all for now. Thanks for coming along!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Today's walk report: 083015, Best of the bees

Previous reports have included "best of" versions for both hummingbirds and butterflies and it came to mind a short while ago that a "best of the bees" issue was long overdue.

I have spent most of my life having a relationship with bees which was marked by extreme avoidance bordering on fear. As a young child I had a rather traumatic episode in a swimming pool where I was the only one not inclined to submerge when a bee was hovering over the water. Naturally, all of the other (older) kids disturbed the bee upon submerging and I was left to be stung and stung I was. I don't recall if it was that incidence or a latter one but it was determined (perhaps only by my mother) that I was allergic to bees. I got sick and had a fever... apparently.

March forward 50+ years. I found the cure in 2011. I got my 1st DSLR camera and discovered a remarkable level of braveness and confidence photographing bees. Getting my best shot overrode everything else. I will go so far as to say we've developed a friendship of sorts. Shortly thereafter something else happened... I got stung by a bee. Right smack in the center of the most sensitive part of one's palm. This wasn't while tempting fate taking pictures but rather by sticking my hand in some city mulch to facilitate getting it from my vehicle onto a snow shovel.

Here I was, from childhood to adulthood, led to believe I was allergic to bees. An interesting thing to examine, how we are able to put so much faith in childhood beliefs. My initial reaction was a combination of an incredible rush of pain, pulling the stinger, washing my hand with a nearby garden hose and getting inside and by a phone. I honestly didn't know what to expect and using Dr. Google was kinda discouraging. But, basically... nothing happened, nothing beyond a normal reaction anyway. According to WebMD "most people are not allergic to insect stings and may mistake a normal sting reaction for an allergic reaction." 'Nice to finally get this straight, don't always believe what you've been told.

Onto the bees...

Bees on California poppies.

Bee bottoms...

Inside a cape honeysuckle flower
Inside a banksia flower
Spotted Emu Bush
A bearded iris
Excursion into a cactus flower...

Back on the outside
Just looking...

Cape hioneysuckle

Bee on Melaleuca flowers...

Hanging around...

Note the ant on the bottom of the left flowers

Some sort of salvia
Hakea minyma flower
No plant ID
On gilia tricolor
On borage
Callistemon pallidus aka lemon bottlebrush
Narrow leaved milkweed
Perezii statice

Back to the emu bush

A couple of bees in borage flowers
Inside an opuntia flower
Drenched by rain, bee rests on ox-eye daisy
Apache plume
No plant Id
Bee blissing on bee's bliss sage
Arroyo lupine
Cosmos bipinnatus
Clarkia unguiculata
Another bee swirling around inside an opuntia flower
 Heading in...

White sage
Blue bee
Heading into Caesalpinia gilliesii
More fun with Caesalpinia gilliesii
Salvia apiana (white sage, bee sage, or sacred sage). Find the ant, win no prize
More cactus flowers
Some type of catmint
Crassula perforata flowers
Grapefruit flower
Another blue bee on gilia tricolor
Another shot on Crassula perforata flowers
Another cactus flower find
Heading out...

Alyogyne huegelii 'White Swan'
Alyogyne huegelii 'White Swan'
The Valley carpenter bee, Xylocopa varipuncta, in brown and the California carpenter bee, Xylocopa californica in black...

Cercis occidentalis, western redbud. Note the honey bee in the background.
Salvia uliginosa
Collinsia Heterophylla, Chinese houses
Palo Verde
Salvia uliginosa
Gulf-Fritillary butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) and a carpenter-bee

Bumblebees, bee genus Bombus...

Maybe Salvia leucophylla
Same salvia