Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Today's walk report: 120914

The final leg of the 2014 tour, the year really seemed to fly by. I'm extremely grateful for the companionship I've had since February and am looking forward to each and every future day with my girl, Docken.

Here are photos from last weekend's walks...

I've been trying to get a really nice picture of this black-chinned hummingbird for some time now. These aren't those. Considering this behavior and the current condition of the local botanical garden (flowers are few, moving into winter) it might be awhile before I catch him at plant level again. Anyway, the fly catching thing shown here is something I suspect most people don't really see. Camera data says I'm 28.5 meters (31 yards) away, a lot of that being up, and even at 300 mm the flies aren't too visible until cropping in. Notice the bird's darting tongue in the 2nd image.

Eschscholzia californica (California poppy)
Green lynx spider (Peucetia viridans)
I spent an inordinate amount of time following around this clouded sulphur (Colias philodice) and barely got this shot off before he took off again.

The 2nd landing was much longer, having parked himself in the leaf of a western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) tree.

Buds beginning on the ever popular chandelier plant (Kalanchoe delagoensis).

Unknown succulent.

Unknown succulent.
Yes, we had rain, quite a bit considering the SoCal drought situation. We clocked in at just over 2" from 11/30-12/04 with more on the way. The rain brought mushrooms everywhere.

This is a blue marine (Leptotes marina) it's one of my favorite butterflies to photograph. They fly in such a frenzied manner and are quite small (wing Span: 7/8 - 1 1/8 inches (2.2 - 2.9 cm) so it's difficult to see how pretty they are until they land and that's not often or typically for very long. I discovered in this report that open wings is pretty much just a mating thing and a glimpse of their iridescent wings is rare. The plant is Westringia, 'Blue Gem.'

New flowers from the Tagetes lemmonii bushes, perhaps this will lure the hummingbird back.

I'll probably have a report or two before the close of 2014 but just in case, happy holidays whoever you are!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Today's walk report: 120114, rainy days and Mondays

Monday, December 1, 2014.

It looks like rain, fact is, it's been raining on and off for a couple of nights and a day now and we've got a pretty decent storm coming in tomorrow--but it looks like the fringes are already here and it's already dark outside. So... no walk today and instead I bring you these images from the last couple of weeks. These photos were taken from 112114 to 113014 and are, for the most part, randomly ordered.

A hoverfly enjoys an early bloom, Eschscholzia californica (California poppy).
Yarrow, died back.
A black-chinned hummingbird on Aloe maculata.
An empty Alyogyne huegelii seedpod.
This black phoebe (Sayornis nigricans) was fluttering between this desert willow and the pond, taking a bath below.
Don't be fooled the spines are in there.
Female green lynx spider.
A graveyard for palo verde flowers.
Some cotyledons.
Vanessa cardui, near the front door.
Vanessa cardui on lantana.
Vanessa cardui on lantana.
This was a great macro find, well, it was for the photo aspect... not so much for setting up the shot.

This is what you see when you approach this wormy cactus. I was both surprised  and excited to see just how much beauty was up close.

The unfortunate side of getting down on the ground to take pictures of the tiny pink flowers was this... It was buried unseen in the gravel on your left. I put most of my weight onto this with my right palm. I then hollered for the lovely nurse Docken to assist. Both going in and pulling them out, these spines were shockingly painful.

Senna bicapsularis.
Senna bicapsularis.
More tiny spines.
Water flower.
Yellow rumped warbler in a desert willow.
Hairlike spines.
This was another delightful surprised once view with a Canon 60mm macro lens. One could barely tell there were flowers here with the naked eye and it was certainly a pleasant surprise to see how pretty they were. I believe the plant is some type of sedum.

Throw in a tiny black ant (Monomorium minimum) for measure. These worker black ants measure 1-2mm.

We ended up walking in the rain in Sunday, 113014 with cameras, primarily to get the above photo of the wormy cactus. The forecast for the day had called for light to no rain, we ended up with .66" which was .16" more than we had so far for the season.

Meanwhile, it's now noon, 120214 and it has been raining since about 6 am, already adding an additional .5" of rain and this is supposed to continue into tomorrow. We need it badly, unfortunately, we don't really have the resources to harvest the rainwater.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Today's walk report: 111814

A big gap since my Halloween entry, pushing 3 weeks, here's what's happening...

We had been waiting for a strong confirmation for rain in order to plant wildflower seeds for spring. Coincidently, or perhaps intuitively, we had gone to a home garden center for firewood and soil amendment. It looked curiously gloomy out so I checked the weather forecast and lo and behold we had a 100% chance of rain for Halloween night. So... we got busy...
Docken and I ceremoniously toss the first seeds.

5 pounds of mixed seed and 5, 3 cubic foot bags of soil went down along with a great deal of cleanup  effort and we were ready for the rain!

A week later...

Seedlings, everywhere and more and more with each passing day. Here's the look as of this afternoon.

It's not much of a "lawn" right now but when you realize that each of those little sprouts is a flowering plant it becomes much more significant.

Photos from before the back issues and from a walk on 111514...

A flattened rose.
Bee on Senna bicapsularis.
Bee on Senna bicapsularis.
Missing ID.
Scarlet bugler, dying back.
Vanessa cardui on Lantana.
Waverly sage.
Changes 1.
Changes 2.

Curious about the garden? Here are some shots from last spring. Spring 2015 should be even nicer having based seed selection, for the most part, on what did the best this year.

Scarlet flax.
Plains coreopsis.
Papaver rhoeas.
Baby Snapdragon (Linaria maroccana).

The full effect...