Saturday, November 5, 2016

Today's walk report: 110516, Breaking News!

This is a walk report special report...

Yesterday, 11/04/16, we took an early evening walk to our familiar garden hang. Of late we've been checking the garden pond hoping for the fall return of our dear duck friends, Docken and Eric (named after us because they're very much like us). We walked around the pond, let out a few quacks but alas, no ducks. We moved over to a bench about 20 yards from the pond, sat and yakked. Lo and behold about 10 minutes in I see something waddling towards us out the corner of my eye. It was them! About 5 and 1/2 months since we last saw them they must have recognized our voices (we know this to be true) and they came walking over to greet us. You have no idea how happy we were to see these guys. And fortunately we had organic oatmeal for them--everyone was happy.

With this morning's trek to the garden they seemed as excited to see us as we were to see them.


The music was a simple solution for dealing with bad audio from the camera. The song, Acquiring The Taste by Gentle Giant was chosen based mostly on a matching duration. Apparently if you live in Germany you won't be able to view the video because of copyright--Entschuldigung (sorry). Please watch the video full screen for the full effect.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Today's walk report: 091116, Best of the dragonflies

It's been almost 3 months since a report and it's not that there haven't been walks or picture taking but there has been less of both. It's just that it's been so darn hot. There are also some disconcerting issues. The garden we frequent on walks simply isn't as alive as it normally has been--even for this time of year. We have seen much fewer butterflies for instance. In fact, despite the presence of more areas in the garden where milkweed is growing I haven't seen a single Monarch caterpillar or butterfly in said botanical garden and we've only seen a couple in the area. This also holds true, to varying degrees, for cloudless sulphur (Phoebis sennae), the painted lady (Vanessa cardui) and Gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) butterflies. Even the little guys, Marine Blue (Leptotes marina) and the various grass skipper butterflies which are usually in abundance are this year not so prevalent. It's bothersome. It's borderline scary. What are we doing to this little blue dot?

Anyway, I've opted for another "best of" report that has been a few weeks in the making due to the sporadic editing of photographs. Originally almost 400 images were set aside for this project with lots of duplicates and images that needed to be resized or otherwise tweaked. If there's a part of this I have any disdain for it's the photo-resizing and renaming aspect. So, I took my time.

Dragonflies and damselflies have also been fewer in number this year. In fact, I've only seen one damselfly and that was in the backyard of our house. I find these creatures fascinating. They are one of the first winged insects to have evolved over 300 million years ago. On one level they look 300 million years old and on another they appear to me as modern day robots of exquisite design. The images below were all taken between 2013 and 2015 and appear in order by file names--sort of. I'm often quick to make IDs on just about everything in these reports so corrections on names are welcomed.

Cardinal Meadowhawk  (Sympetrum illotum)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Flame-Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

Flame-Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Somewhere in the not so distant past I believe I misidentified the California darner (Rhionaeschna californica) as the blue-eyed darner (Rhionaeschna multicolor). It wasn't until I just now backtracked on the female that I saw my mistake.

 California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

 Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Cardinal Meadowhawk  (Sympetrum illotum)

Flame-Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Battle scarred Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
 Photographing dragonflies in-flight is only slightly easier than photographing butterflies in-flight.
California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

Female, California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

Cardinal Meadowhawk  (Sympetrum illotum)

California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
The next image is of a green darner or common green darner (Anax junius). Notice it's dining on some other form of dragonfly. There are more images of this event coming up.

Common green darner (Anax junius)

Flame-Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

Flame-Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

Flame-Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

Flame-Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

Cardinal Meadowhawk  (Sympetrum illotum)

Flame-Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

Common blue damselflies (Enallagma cyathigerum) mating

Common blue damselflies (Enallagma cyathigerum) mating

Common green darner (Anax junius)

The Common green darner (Anax junius) eating a fellow dragonfly #2

Common blue damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)

Common blue damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)

Common blue damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)

Common blue damselflies (Enallagma cyathigerum) mating

Common blue damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)

Female, California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

Female, California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

Female, California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

Female, California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)?

Female, California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

Cardinal Meadowhawk  (Sympetrum illotum)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Female, California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Female, California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

Female, California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

Flame-Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

Bike rack, Ventura, CA... walking with my sweetie.

Flame-Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

Cardinal Meadowhawk  (Sympetrum illotum)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Female, California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

Female, California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

The Common green darner (Anax junius) eating a fellow dragonfly #3

Common green darner (Anax junius)

Rufous hummingbird eyeing a California darner
Flame-Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

Flame-Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

Small red damselfly (Ceriagrion tenellum)

Flame-Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

Female California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

The Common green darner (Anax junius) eating a fellow dragonfly #4

Female California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

The Common green darner (Anax junius) eating a fellow dragonfly #5

Female California darner (Rhionaeschna californica)

Thanks for stopping by, whoever you are. Please grow milkweed and avoid pesticides. There are some natural solutions if you look and don't ever, ever support Monsanto in any way.