Thursday, December 31, 2015

Today's walk report: 123115, Happy New Year!

Here I am once again wondering "wtf happened, another year bites the dust." But as I dig in and contemplate a little I've got to say it was a pretty good year. For the most part there was good health, there was also some "artistic recognition" and most importantly there was and is wonderful companionship and love between me and my girl, Docken. As I reflect there also comes the belief that 2016 will fill in some gaps where wants, needs and desires find greater fulfillment and everything continues to fall into place.

Here are some pictures to send out 2015...


Some dead pines were being cut down and the activity put a bit of a damper on our stay in the garden so this visit was a short one.

Cloudless sulfur butterfly, just after the missed shot of it landing on my foot.
Variegated Meadowhawk dragonfly


There's a small botanical garden on the way to the garden we frequent, it's relatively unkept and is on a closed campus so we're not inclined to investigate. This feline spotted us as we passed there, turned to make sure we couldn't get beyond the chain link fence and then continued on her way. She seemed well kept and probably wasn't a stray. Ciao meow.

In our regular garden stop there there wasn't much going on. I spent most of my time chasing after two male Anna's hummingbirds. First there was this maturing little fellow on a Baja fairy bush

and then about 15 yards north in the Australian Natives section of the garden there was a mature adult male Anna's making the best of this banksia bush. There are few flowering plants left as winter approaches, most of them are Australian natives.


A Cooper's hawk and more dead trees. We recently learned that over 200 trees have been flagged for removal on the 470 acre campus. 

Again, not a lot of photo ops on this day. Here's a male mallard duck, also named Eric. It's always nice to visit with Eric duck and his mate Docken duck. I first met these ducks on the very day I was first contacted by my Docken in 2014. I did not realize this until just days ago when back tracking on photos.


Here's that maturing male Calypte Anna again. This time in a Palo verde tree.

Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon' in bloom
A red-tailed hawk soaring high

The handsome head of Eric duck
Mature Calypte Anna, fly catching
Another katydid munching down the few remaining Salvia darcyi flowers

Male Allen's hummingbird in some eucalyptus

Silly squirrel, thinks I can't see him
Black headed phoebe
Same maturing Calypte anna as above, last of the baby feathers hanging on



Young Anna's posing on some agave
Mature Anna's hummingbird getting nectar from some agave
I watched this squirrel building its nest for a short while...

 ...until she hid from me in her new home.

Close up of Eric duck's plumage
while Docken duck looks on
Uh-oh, coyote tracks. There has been some recent carnage in the garden. I'll spare you the photos.
A familiar scrub jay watches as we depart


I think I may have been bothering this small fellow.
Not sure, maybe a Bushtit?
Here are the end of the year stars. The male Allen's, same as above and I believe is the same one I photographed in this area last year... but never have I been so close as now. Typically I don't find Allen's hummingbirds to be very cooperative. For the most part I'm under the canopy of a Coral gum tree (Eucalyptus torquata) another one of the few plants currently flowering.

Two doors over in a granite honey myrtle (Melaleuca elliptica) this young female Calypte anna was VERY obliging on the photo-front.

A 2nd female Calypte anna also joined in
Honk... honk!!! Canada geese overhead.


Construction was going on all around the garden and the noise and people were really annoying. So we chose not to hang out very long.

Cloudless sulphur

Same male Allen's humminbird as above

We did happen to catch an interesting little battle here. This is a Cooper's hawk and I believe a prairie falcon going at it... or at least the falcon was. It is my understanding that prairie falcons are very comfortable going after prey in flight and I don't think this is true of the Cooper's hawk.

Here's a long shot with the falcon making its approach on the left.

And here's a crop on the Cooper's hawk from that same image...

That's it! Time to enjoy the coming of the New Year with my girl. Happy New Year whoever you are, I hope it's a good one, without any fear.