Monday, August 17, 2015

Today's walk report: 081715

It's so hot...
the cows are giving evaporated milk.
It's so hot...
you realize that asphalt has a liquid state.
It's so hot...
you can make instant sun tea.

It's just freakin' hot is what it is. Yesterday we decided to try and beat the heat by using the clock. We got ourselves up and ready just before dawn and headed out about 6:15 into what was said to become the hottest day of the year and that turned out to be true (so far). Out the door we had a nice, fresh, 67º f (19º c) but nevertheless you could sense the heat coming. The entire journey was only about 2 hours and we made it back to air conditioned living with only a 10 degree increase in temperature outside. That didn't last long. By 11 AM we hit 100º f (37.7 c) and the day topped out at 107º (41.6º c). According to at least one weatherperson, that was a record.

Before I get to the photos from yesterday (081615) here are a few from 080915, a week earlier and a lot cooler with a high of 87º (30.5º c). 

Two opuntia flowers
Seed pod, Romneya coulteri, Matilija Poppy
Empty seed pods, Penstemon centranthifolius, Scarlet Bugler
Water lily
Apache plume, sans plume
Asclepias fascicularis, California Narrowleaf Milkweed
Female rufous hummingbird
Female rufous hummingbird
Female rufous hummingbird, same one as above
I believe this is Kalanchoe luciae
Asclepias fascicularis, California Narrowleaf Milkweed
Close up
Hesperaloe parviflora
A nice surprise turning the corner, Red-tailed hawk in a sad looking Sequoia tree
Note the rufous hummingbird on the left Sequoia tree next image and just over the hawk's head in the 2nd picture below. These were 2 different hummingbirds, both a tad disgruntled over the hawk's presence. They both swooped and circled the hawk some but they seemed to keep more than a safe distance away. As far as I know the hawk remained perched in this spot for at least 15 minutes probably just to spite them. 

San-Pedro-cactus, trichocereus-pachanoi
TBD moth. I took the photo just to see what it looked like. Shot at 300 mm with a Canon close-up lens attached. Maybe some sort of forage looper? It's really tiny.

A young mockingbird testing its repertoire
Canada geese, what they are doing here now I don't get
That's all for now. Thanks for coming along for the walks. See you soon and hopefully in cooler climes.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Today's walk report: 071015

Catching up... again.

For the most part it's been too hot for walks within a time frame for capturing under decent light, so while there has been plenty of walking there's been little picture taking. Here's what I've got from the last several weeks...


Male mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) in an olive tree
Immature rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)
Tagetes lemmonii
A red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) rests near a water lily
Flame Skimmer (Libellula saturata) dorsal view
and ventral view

Checkered grass skipper on Salvia Microphylla
Another round with Crassula perforata
A southwestern fence lizard
Drying pods on some agave
Tagetes lemmonii

Female Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna)
A pair of red-tailed hawks squawking up a storm 
 Red-tailed hawk in flight #1
and #2 still squawking
The BIG story, despite it lacking as a photo offering. Frankly I was too in awe to get much in the way of photos, besides most of the action would have had me shooting into hopes and prayers. Let's face it butterflies in flight are a tough subject.

This is a pair of monarch butterflies mating. The show before this landing was spectacular. The pair first circled above me, inches apart from each other, like a small butterfly tornado flying upward as much as 30 feet. But that wasn't dramatic enough--they then coupled IN FLIGHT, flew as one and landed in this bush. Next they took flight linked together for a hop to another part of the bush less than 2 meters from my camera and remained conjoined for close to two minutes. Finally they flew off as one once again over the bush and out of view. It was one of the most beautiful courtships I've ever seen!

Another agave soon to blossom
This is some seriously chomped upon cacti. I'm going to assume this was done by a hare but whatever it was, how it got past all of those spines is amazing.

A female rufous hanging out
Lesser goldfinch in Salvia uliginosa
This was a another first, the American bullfrog affectionately known as Kevin, mostly above water and in the open, catching the day's end on a rock. We've seen Kevin before both here and here.


We're just about home and I spotted this wacky flying little butterfly. About the size of a dime it was too small and its flight too erratic to see just how pretty it was. Finally it landed and I had just enough time to get a close-up lens onto a 70-300 mm zoom.

Dainty sulphur butterfly (Nathalis iole)

Female  Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Female rufous hummingbird

Another Female rufous hummingbird
and the same bird in a different location, probably checking me out

That's all for now... check back soon and remember, comments are usually welcomed while corrections on flora and fauna IDs are most appreciated.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Today's walk report: 052515, spring, sprang, sprung

Despite most of today feeling a bit like fall I believe spring is pretty much spent in this part of SoCal as we traditionally head into summer marked by today being Memorial Day.

On to walks that have taken on a good chunk of spring from April 11 until today, May 25th.

April 11, 2015

Black chinned hummingbird in a palo verde tree
Bees frolicking in opuntia flowers
Close up
The Anna's hummingbird known as "Bob"



Monarch on Salvia

Another lucky rodent gets a nut from Docken

April 18, 2015

Blue darner dragonfly

Monarch at home on milkweed

Santa Barbara daisies
Southwestern fence lizard hanging with me on a bench
 Viceroy butterfly (Limenitis archippus)
Water lily

April 19, 2015

Santa Barbara daisies and a grass skipper butterfly

Marine Blue butterfly (Leptotes marina) laying eggs
The western tiger swallowtail (Papilio rutulus)
The same viceroy as above on lantana
Little did I know this would be the last time I was going to see hummingbird "Bob." But wait, there's some special news forthcoming!

Male Calypte anna, "Bob"


April 26, 2015
Opuntia flowers
Opuntia flower
Romneya Coulteri poppy

Yucca whipleii flowers
Romneya Coulteri poppy
Yucca whipleii flowers
May 1, 2015

More from inside the Yucca whipleii...

May 2, 2015

Allen's hummingbird semi-perched on yucca flowers
Immature Allen's hummingbird
May 9, 2015

Apricot mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)
House sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Mourning dove
May 10, 2015

American Lady (Vanessa-virginiensis)
Yerba mansa
(Anemopsis californica)
 A paper wasp devouring pests on narrow-leaved milkweed. Paper wasps are beneficial insects, please leave them alone if you can.

May 16, 2015

Female Anna's hummingbird
Female rufous hummingbird
Ruschia piscodora
Santa Barbara daisies
Southwestern fence lizard
Up close...

May 23, 2015
Introducing Lil' Bob

Heading out, off the driveway...

Hoverfly coated in CA Poppy pollen

Lanceleaf coreopsis

Moving on to the garden, Docken makes another friend via an almond contribution.

A baby ground squirrel gets a nut from Docken

Bee on Crassula perforata flowers


A budding Echinocereus scheeri
Lesser goldfinch atop drying salvia flowers
Asclepias fascicularis (narrowleaf milkweed)
More Monarch butterflies on the way
Some species of Acacia?
Yerba mansa
(Anemopsis californica)
Salvia flowers
Rufous hummingbird
Female Anna's hummingbird
Based on hummingbird "Bob's" (seen here and here) former exclusivity as the apparent solo male Anna's hummingbird in the garden, the timing of his disappearance, some basic math and the appearance of this little guy, it seems strongly evident that this is "son of Bob", aka, "Lil' Bob."  Bob was last photographed and seen by us on April 19th. About a week before that Bob was observed performing the male Anna's "mating dive" for a pretty little female perched on a red-stemmed dogwood bush. Egg incubation is about 16 days followed by a 20 day nesting period, from there young Calypte annas are out on their own. The male parent has no role in parenting after mating. So the absence of male C. anna birds in the area aside from Bob, the timing of this newborn's appearance plus a little wishful thinking has brought about the conclusion that this is Bob's offspring. Aside from speculation, Lil' Bob is cute as can be and he is also one of the bravest hummingbirds I've yet to encounter.

May 24, 2015

A female monarch laying eggs on Asclepias fascicularis
Rufous hummingbird
Tall cactus (ID missing)
Female Anna's hummingbird
This Gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus) shows the effectiveness of the "false head" on its hindwing which has apparently taken a hit or two from a bird or other predator.

Flowers, Manfreda Sp.
Berlandiera lyrata, aka, chocolate daisy
Berlandiera lyrata, starting to bloom
Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice) on Salvia darcyi
Dried flowers on some type of fountain grass
May 25, 2015

"OH, IT'S YOU!!"
California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum)
Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa)
More Crassula perforata flowers
Monarch and a bee on a Chastity plant
I hope you enjoyed the walks. Thanks for tagging along!