Sunday, April 23, 2017

Today's walk report: 042317, intruder alert!

A beautiful Sunday A.M. walk. We went to see "our babies" and it was a good thing. At least we think it was. When we got to the pond we found mama duck splayed out on the ground with a look of concern in her eyes. It was for good reason. On the other side of the pond a  Great Egret  (Ardea alba) stood and it appeared as though the ducklings were on its mind. Egrets are known to eat a ducking whole. Well, everywhere you look in the urban jungle there's human intervention and a rather large human male wasn't going to have this bird threatening our ducks, so I chased it off.

The intruder.
Mom protecting her babies.

After the coast was clear.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Earth Day 2017

This is an image I created in 2012. I thought it was appropriate for today, Earth Day 2017. Please take care of her, she's the only planet we've got. Resist.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Today's walk report: 042117, Breaking News!!

We're grandparents! Well, sort of...

If you have followed this blog even modestly you probably know by now of our affection for a pair of ducks we've come to know well. So well, in fact, that we ended up naming them after ourselves in 2014. Backtracking, so far, the earliest photos I have of these ducks were taken in February, 2013. Yesterday we took a walk sans cameras to the pond with the intention of feeding and visiting "our" ducks. If you take issue with this let me point something out. These are "urban" ducks, they get fed all sorts of crap by humans. We feed them on occasion and we feed them duck food. A year ago the male duck had a seriously injured leg. He could not get out of the water and walk and we're certain our feeding him helped in his recovery. Many people who know ducks call mallards such as these, domestic mallards. Only two species of ducks have been domesticated: the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) and the Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata). Anyway, yesterday our female, Docken duck, swam over to my girl, Docken human, along with 8 cute as can be ducklings!

Today we went back early in the A.M. with cameras and got some pictures. We're sure to get a lot more in the days to come.

About 15 minutes in daddy duck Eric showed up and apparently he was randy to start another clutch. Hey, it's nature but it's not a pretty sight. It only went on for about one minute.

After that dad struts his stuff....

and mom appears a bit disoriented...

She also has a thing or two to say about the ordeal...

but soon realized it was time to go back to being a mom...

while dad just watches on...

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Today's walk report: 040117, butterflies are...

... few. If you were able to date yourself far back enough and were thinking "free", nope, that's not the case. If you're environmentally aware you may know of the 90% decline of monarch butterflies that has taken place over the past 20 years but I'm here to say that monarchs are not the only concern. In just the 5 years I've been back in this part of SoCal I've seen a decline in everything from common grass skippers to swallowtails, mourning cloaks (Nymphalis antiopa), Vanessa atalanta, Vanessa cardui, Gulf fritillary, monarchs (Danaus plexippus), Leptotes marina and Pieris rapae. There's probably a few others that aren't coming to mind. When I think back some 45 years (or so) to my childhood the butterfly population situation is downright depressing. Today the concern is higher than ever with a Presidential cabinet that appears hellbent on destroying the environment (and a lot more).


Yesterday while watering in our backyard I was able to put aside the above stated reality for awhile and take in the joy of this lovely lady (I'm pretty sure this is a female) and a perfect specimen at that. We have two 6'+ (2 meter) pride of Madeira (Echium candicans) subshrubs that are flowering heavily and this Papilio rutulus, aka, the western tiger swallowtail was enjoying them immensely. In fact I was able to get 974 shots off during her 17 minute stay.

Our walk took place shortly after this wonderful event but no cameras were in play. PS, we saw "our" ducks again (read back one post)!


No April fools jokes but rather a peaceful morning walk to our nearby garden hang. 

Right outside the front door.

Papaver rhoeas and a little insect.
This was the only butterfly I saw in the garden and this story doesn't have a happy ending.

It was still cool at the time I took my last pictures of this Vanessa atalanta and it wasn't very active for that reason. The situation allowed a lot of picture taking. I was changing out a close-up lens on a nearby bench and suddenly I saw a sparrow sized bird fly right over this spot on the ground. When I went back to look seconds later the butterfly was gone. I didn't see the catch but it didn't look good for the butterfly.

Hummingbirds were mostly chasing each other so there weren't too many photo ops on that front but there was this...

Female Calypte anna on Grevillea sericea.
and both my girl and I had a "that was fun" moment while sitting on a bench taking photos of our friend "not Rusty" (again, if you don't get it read back a post or two).

That's all folks. Thanks again for coming along!