Monday, August 18, 2014

Today's walk report: 081814; Last weekend

Distracting myself from the pervasive moment, here's some stuff from the weekend of August 15-17.

The weather continues to aggravate with mid-upper 90º temps. It needs to go away.

Friday, 081514...

An A.M. walk, not that it helped much, quickly moving into the heat of the day. Docken and I stopped to look at a morning 1/2 moon and circling white doves.

Hoverfly on a salvia twig.
Gulf fritillary or passion butterfly (Agraulis vanillae)
A honey bee tussles in the stamen of a cactus flower.

Exploring the depths.
Cruising about.
Exit stage right.
One more time?
Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), the conversation was with me. I hope I didn't say the wrong thing...

but perhaps I did...

Unknown succulent buds.

Saturday... I don't remember what happened to Saturday.

Sunday, 081714...

Cooper's Hawk, Accipiter cooperii, in an olive tree.
Asclepias fascicularis.
Agraulis vanillae.
Another Selasphorus rufus, seemingly entertained by my presence.
Onto another distraction.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Today's walk report: 081114; Last weekend

Once again a tad tardy on a weekend report. Oh well.

It's been hot and trying to push walks out to early evening means less light and fewer pictures. I'm really looking forward to fall.

080814, Friday...

We were late to the garden and the lighting was pretty dismal. I commented once out load about neglecting to bring a flash and grumbled to myself a few more times.

Bee on narrow-leaved milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis.
This young Selasphorus rufus was the only hummingbird photo op I saw. A lot of the taller sages are starting to fall to the summer heat, making it more difficult to capture hummingbirds as they dart about inside.

This isn't a very good picture but it was the 1st time I've seen a crayfish (aka, crawfish, crawdads, freshwater lobsters, or mudbugs) in the water. I knew they were there but since they are usually much deeper than this I've only seen them before in the mouth of an egret. I used the on board flash for this shot and also needed to crank the shadows way up in Photoshop.

Crayfish amongst mosquito fish.
At this point I decided to simply sit and wait for my girl to finish her photos. On the bench I noticed this ant rather frantically trying to navigate this object which looked especially sizable. I screwed on my Canon 500D close up lens to my zoom at 300mm for a closer look. 'Turns out to be a bee's wing.

080914, Saturday...

Young Selasphorus rufus in a Sequoia tree.
Selasphorus rufus in Silver Sage.
Female Selasphorus rufus. no plant ID.
Selasphorus rufus in red-stemmed dogwood.
Kevin says, "hey!"

There's a "supermoon" coming tomorrow. This looked pretty super to us already.

081014, Sunday, yesterday...

We didn't walk much, in fact we pretty much drove all but a mere 1 km or 0.62 miles.  It was hot and getting late but we wanted to take pictures. It was nice to get out.

I was SURROUNDED by Selasphorus rufus for several minutes. For the most part it was too exciting watching to be fighting to track zooming, swooping and darting hummingbirds.

Selasphorus rufus.
 Something I said?

Selasphorus rufus inside summer's collapsing Salvia darcyi.
Selasphorus rufus preening.
Ready for the party.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Today's walk report: 080314, a weekend report

Time for another weekend walk report extravaganza and a change in schedule.

In an effort to beat the SoCal summer heat we decided to shift gears on Friday and move our daily constitutional to A.M. instead of the typical late afternoon or early evening walks. For Friday we decided on a sunrise walk which meant us getting our somewhat sleep deprived bodies out the door by 5:30 A.M.


Sunrise through the palo verde trees.
Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), in a misplaced Sequoia tree.
Nobody's home.
Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) caterpillar.
Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus).
Other side.
Previously reported here, the bud now open.

Some opuntia.
Carpenter bee on Salvia uliginosa.
Live Salvia uliginosa amongst dying  Salvia clevelandii.


This is a water main on the college campus, heading toward the garden. Why the bucket? 'Not so sure since it's been overflowing for days now. The thing is SoCal is in pretty deep trouble with its worst drought in history. Mandatory water restrictions have been imposed via local municipal utility companies yet stuff like this goes on. Earlier this week, due to a crumbling infrastructure, a water main break along the UCLA campus dumped 20 million gallons of drinking water before it was finally shutoff. The shame.

onto the garden...

 Blue-Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
 Blue-eyed-Darner (Rhionaeschna multicolor), male.
Aesculus californica, California Buckeye or California Horse-chestnut seed husks.
Blue-eyed-Darner (Rhionaeschna multicolor), female.
Checkered White butterfly, Pontia protodice on Salvia darcyi
Gulf-Fritillary, Agraulis vanillae on cattails.
Checkered White butterfly, Pontia protodice.
080314... that's today.

August 3rd in SoCal and believe it or not we walked in scattered sprinkles. Last night around 11 P.M. we were still pushing 80º and we got .03" of rain. Not much precipitation but it certainly made for an uncomfortable evening.

It was, of course, cloudy and muggy. The photo front was nothing like yesterday.

Blue-Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Creeping water primrose, Ludwigia peploides. Pretty but highly invasive.
Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) amidst multiple salvias.
This is Kevin. We named him that. Kevin carries on conversations with us. American bullfrogs are also often regarded as an invasive species. As far as I can tell the pond contains Kevin and just two other bullfrogs. The problem for all of them is this--they're all males. Poor Kevin, croaking for a love who may never show.