Thursday, July 17, 2014

Today's walk report: 071614, but not really.

Truth is, I'm several days late on this. Fortunately it's mostly pictures.

I ran into this butterfly again over the weekend. I had mis-identified this little lady before here as a  Cabbage white butterfly, Pieris rapae and was questioning if I hadn't seen both males and females in the past. Thing was I couldn't find another "white" in my 1st round Googling.

Further investigation, after these photos were taken, led me to
Pontia protodice, aka, Checkered White butterfly. I feel obligated in some sort of nitpicky way about ID'ing stuff I photograph for placement here and elsewhere on the Net, for example, here, but let it be known, it's my least favorite part of the program.

I don't believe I've ever seen a Checkered White before. If I have this is the 1st time I've paid attention. This lovely female was gracious enough to allow me time to pay considerable attention.

Other noteworthy pics from 071214...

Agraulis vanillae, aka, Gulf-Fritillary.

Succulent flowers, no ID.

Opuntia flowers.

As always, comments are welcomed. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Today's walk report: 070714: Catching up, 4th of July weekend.

We just finished up a rather spectacular 4th of July weekend which included lots of photo taking and a big surprise for the 4th itself.

Friday night, July 4th, Independence Day.

We "debated" options for a Friday evening walk, hoping to see some fireworks. We had no idea what was in store for the evening. Last year I had planned to go up to a hilltop at the nearby College campus to see what firework displays I could photograph but that turned out be a non-event when I saw the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department had decided to close the campus and block off the entrances.

College campus, July 4, 2013.
This was a sight I'd never seen. It's a community college, it's a public school and while I've seen it closed to inbound traffic I'd never seen it barricaded by police.

When we read that the campus would be "closed" for the 4th this year I expected the same. This sort of behavior tends to get worse and never better so that's the assumption I had made. I was wrong.

We decided to walk the "bus way" west which runs parallel to our neighborhood on one side and the campus ultimately on the other about .75 miles in. We hoped to see some fireworks out of chance. When we got to the NE corner of the campus I looked down the block and it appeared to be open, no signs to the contrary--no barricades. So we went in and crossed the campus to make it to the top of the hill rather swiftly.

What a beautiful sight! We were alone too for the most part and we saw 100's of firework displays all across the San Fernando Valley, some miles off in the distance and some just a few blocks away, everything from neighborhood celebrations to professional displays. It went from bottle rockets to huge dahlias.

Here's a mock-up I made which no where approaches what we really saw but hopefully you get the idea.

Docken said it was the most beautiful 4th she ever experienced and I would have to agree... plus I had her with me. We watched fireworks for well over an hour, holding each other like lovers do.

Onto July 5th...

It was the start of Le Tour de France today and that meant getting up at 4 AM to watch the race. Actually it meant getting up at 3 AM only to find out that NBC had been re-miss once again in getting the start time right. The race was over shortly after 9 AM and we were off for a walk around 10. It was already getting pretty darn hot too.

Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice) butterfly.
Blue dasher dragonfly being overly receptive during mating?
Vanessa cardui, aka, the Painted Lady or the Cosmopolitan.
Pond flowers, no ID.

Cardinal meadowhawk (Sympetrum illotum).
No ID, water flower.
Same deal yesterday, July 6, AM coffee and cycling with stage 2 of the tour and out after 10 AM for an even warmer walk. We hit 92ยบ by noon.

Mud dauber wasp drinking from the pond.
Monster grasshopper on Salvia uliginosa.
Flowers are dying and seed pods abound.
Small Red Damselfly (Ceriagrion tenellum) enjoying the water plants.

Pieris rapae on salvia.
Colias philodice on Salvia darcyi.

Thanks for joining in!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Today's walk report: 062914, another weekend report

Temperature's rising...

It's certainly summer in SoCal (especially in this Valley!) and that typically means later walks and less light to work with.

Friday, 062714. A nice evening stroll into the garden...

Black chinned hummingbird on desert willow.
This rufous hummingbird seemed a little ticked off over something.

Night blooming cacti are currently in abundance.

Another dove on a wire.

Saturday, 062814... A little earlier today and we were really sweating it.

Cabbage white (Pieris rapae)

Wings open... These are not the markings common to images I've found and photos I've taken in the past of Pieris rapae. However, it looks like a cabbage white for the most part and I come up empty in searching a more positive ID. Maybe it's a gender thing? Any corrections are welcome.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on narrow-leaved milkweed.

I find it remarkable how well the birds pick the dried out silver sage flowers for seeds, all without disturbing the husks.

Sunday, 062914...

It was hot so the walk started late. Shadows were besieging the garden upon our arrival. I went straight to the milkweed to visit monarch caterpillars and it turned out to be a wise decision.

Paper wasps are known to eat destructive insects but I noticed it left the monarch caterpillars alone, for the most part. The caterpillars thrashed a bit too when the wasp got too close.

Paper wasp and monarch caterpillar, lower left corner.

This one is at peace.
and a ladybug minds its own business.

While the sun sets behind a sea of white flowers...

Thanks for coming along!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Today's walk report: 062214: Yesterday and Today

It's been a really busy last couple of weeks, please excuse our absence.

Rewind to yesterday, 062114. Summer Solstice.

Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna)
Docken says...
and today...

California ground squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi)
Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
 Cardinal Meadowhawk (Sympetrum illotum)
Fly on the fountain
Again,  Cardinal Meadowhawk
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
Tiny cactus flowers
Carpenter bee on Bog sage (Salvia uliginosa)
Very small and very dead lizard
5 doves
Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
Western scrub jay (Aphelocoma californica), bumming sandwich bits from Docken.
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
This guy was driving the same speed we were waking so Docken and I stopped to kiss.