Sunday, June 19, 2016

Today's walk report: 061916

There certainly won't be a walk today and even an evening stroll is questionable. Right now, Father's day 2016, it is 108º Fahrenheit outside and we'll be struggling to keep the house temp below 90º. At the moment it's 79º in the living room and 85º here in my office. The tract homes in this neighborhood were all built with central heating and no A/C. I hope someone was fired over that decision back in 1953.

Here's what's been going on since my last report and before this heatwave struck.


The main attraction has been the flower buds of the Agave scabra some of these flowers are as high as 20' (6.096 meters). Despite huge clusters of opening flowers both hummingbirds and bees all seem to be competing for a piece of it.
Female rufous hummingbird approaching the Agave scabra.

Meanwhile activity in the pond is peaceful and quiet.

Water lily.
 After an uneventful meandering around the garden it was back to the agave and to my delight a new bird sighting, a male Bullock's oriole. Actually I think I may have seen this bird once before probably in 2012 but it flew by so quickly I had hardly a chance to take it in.

Icterus bullockii.

If not a mockingbird then a scrub jay will typically claim territory and chase the competition away.

All in all it was a pretty slow day aside from the agave action.


There wasn't a lot of action on this day either, or I wasn't bothering to find it. I was indeed looking for another opportunity for pictures of the oriole but he was nowhere to be found. For the most part it was back to the Agave scabra. There's a bench in front of this plant and sometimes it's nice to just sit and watch as events unfold.

Two female rufous hummingbirds. They are very territorial so a sight like this is short lived.
To give you an idea of the size here. Note the hummingbird, lower left.
 I wandered around once again but most of the shots I was looking for weren't there. After awhile you get to know where "the regulars" might be hanging out but it wasn't happening on this beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Female rufous hummingbird.
This house sparrow found something yummy in new growth on this eucalyptus.


Half the year is already gone, how can that be?!? Meanwhile the garden we frequent for many of these reports is looking more stressed that usual for this time of year. This despite with what appears to have been a slow start to summer. I know summer doesn't start officially until tomorrow but we typically get at least a months head start and up until yesterday it's been reasonably cool weather.  It could be the mandatory 25-35% water reduction or perhaps being in the 5th year of a progressively worsening drought the weather pattern is  taking its toll. Anyway, it might be interesting to one day do some comparisons in this garden across the 5 year history I've been photographing it. Or maybe not.

A ground squirrel between a rock and a hard place.
A scrub jay in a sequoia tree.
A hoverfly in Salvia microphylla.
A mourning dove cools off.
The seed pod of a Salvia clevelandii plant.
Flowers of the chaste tree.
chaste tree

Read more at Gardening Know How: Chaste Tree Info: Tips On Chaste Tree Cultivation And Care
chaste tree

Read more at Gardening Know How: Chaste Tree Info: Tips On Chaste Tree Cultivation And Care


Male Anna's hummingbird.
Female rufous hummingbird in Agave polianthiflora.
The leaning tower of Agave scabra (find the hummingbird, spot the bees?)
Leptotes marina on a Baja fairy bush.
Male Anna's hummingbird, the same as above.
Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon'.
No ID.
Psaltriparus minimus, aka, a bushtit.
Same male Calypte anna as above.


Another slow day for picture taking.

Kangaroo paws.
Female rufus hummingbird.
There was also this... An adjacent neighborhood celebrates architects Dan Palmer and William Krisel who designed many of the nearby homes including ours. We only walked by to see what the fuss was about.

Some of the houses had old cars in the driveways to help put you back to the early 1950s.

Later after the walk we heard tremendous squawking in nearby trees, it was dusk so picture taking was handicapped but I grabbed a camera to look outside. Feral parrots are pretty common in SoCal but this was the most I've ever seen. I guesstimated about two dozen birds.


Berlandiera lyrata, aka, chocolate daisy.
The spire of this agave plant shot up several months ago and we are anxiously awaiting the opening of the flower buds, as are the hummingbirds and bees. It's about 8' tall.

Capparis spinosa (Caper).
Female Anna's hummingbird.
Another ground squirrel.
Thistle, it's in the daisy family but isn't nearly as welcome in most gardens.
Finally, I get another shot of the brilliant Bullock's oriole.


Female rufous in a palo verde tree.
The flower buds are flowering...
...and the hummingbirds are digging it!
Same hare.
This is our new duck friend, George. As you might be able to tell George is molting.

A Southwestern fence lizard.
Where is everyone?
A couple of days before this walk we saw this (?) female Bullock's oriole along with the male.

Female Icterus bullockii.
This is the oriole on the Agave scabra. The flowers are now littering the ground below.
Back to more rufous hummingbirds on the freshly blooming agave.
That's all for now. Thanks for coming along! Please feel free to comment.