Doesn't this look like a lovely golden drop of sunshine? These California poppies reseed themselves all over the garden, so now there are even more of them beginning to bloom. I strew some of the seeds Eschscholzia californica in our native garden two years ago. And ever since, the poppies just keep returning after their winter dormancy, and multiply. Oh wouldn't it be so lovely to have a huge field of these... The bees are especially fond of these poppies. On sunny days it'
Last weekend, when the weather was dry and sunny, there was a lot of activity in the garden and patio. Birds were visiting all day, and bees and butterflies were feeding on nectar. This is the first monarch to visit our patio. It circled around, then would rest, fly away, then return. And this, I believe, is the main reason: The milkweed plants are emerging out of their state of dormancy. And look how good this narrow leafed milkweed looks. Since we are renters, I don't dare
Here is my first carpenter bee sighting of the year on our patio. It is a male Mountain Carpenter Bee Xylocopa tabaniformis orpifex, approaching blossoms on the Chiapas salvia plant. What a magnificent bee! Look at the large green eye and yellowish fuzzy anterior thorax. It visits the patio throughout the day, feeding on the nectar of the salvia and lavender plants.
In my last post I wrote that the Black Phoebe ate a Checkerspot butterfly. But after observing butterfly activity in the native garden area of our front yard, I realized that the butterfly that was devoured was a Painted Lady Vanessa Cardui. There are more of these butterflies visiting the garden these days, probably part of the masses of migrating painted ladies moving up north. Most of the butterflies are flying inland but the Bay Area has been fortunate, too. And I am so h
Today during my lunch break I looked out the window at our front yard which is starting to look quite lush. It was quite a gray day with light rain showers. I first noticed a California towhee eating the seeds of dandelion flower heads that had lost their petals and most of their fluff. At the same time a golden crowned sparrow hopped in the clover eating tiny bugs. A black phoebe perched on a wooden stick in the native plant area. It suddenly swooped down into the plants, th
Early in the morning when I was checking out the front garden, I noticed a huge flock of cedar waxwings descending on a neighbor's Toyon shrub that was full of berries. They flew back and forth from the shrub to a magnolia tree across the street, each with a berry in their beak. They were very silent, I didn't hear their wings flapping. I don't know if anyone else witnessed this fascinating event. Once they had eaten their fill of Toyon berries, they settled on the utility c
What a great weekend to observe bees, birds and butterflies! The weather was lovely with warmer temperatures and sunshine. We love the rain, but this is a nice change, when the bees and butterflies are out and about all day. I saw in our garden many bees, a painted lady butterfly, a cabbage moth and a monarch butterfly. Here is a honey bee approaching a borage blossom. The borage plants have been blooming ever since last summer, which I find very surprising because I'm used t
Daffodils are always a cheerful sight. We've been living in our current residence for a little over two years. The previous tenants apparently planted daffodil bulbs a few years prior to our moving in. And this is the first spring when there are more daffodils growing in the patio plant beds, popping up among the native plants. The daffodils are taller this year. Maybe it's due to so much rain, alternating with very chilly temperatures.
I originally identified this bumble bee as a hover fly because there is a hover fly that resembles it. After researching further, I've determined that it definitely is a black-tailed bumble bee Bombus melanopygus. It is feeding on the nectar of blossoms on our Ray Hartman ceanothus shrub.