Here is a lovely illustration by one of my favorite children's book author and illustrator, Elsa Beskow. I wish you a very happy and bright new year! Let's keep on creating pesticide-free native garden habitats for pollinators and other wildlife, using organic compost and soil.
During a break between light rain showers, a group of sparrows and a California towhee descended on the front yard. I observed the activity through a window, and also took these photos through the window because I didn't want to disturb the birds by any kind of movement. The birds were very busy, seemingly very excited and moving with quick hops and taking short flights, on a quest for food. And I still can't figure out what they were eating, insects or plant matter. They wer
Rain and mist creates so much atmosphere. These are silhouettes of golden crowned sparrows perched high up on dried blackberry vines. Birds seem to really enjoy the weather, as long as the rain showers aren't heavy and gusty winds are absent. Another golden crowned sparrow, also perched on a dried blackberry vine.
I love sunsets, but winter sunsets are especially gorgeous. This view is from our front porch looking toward the Marin headlands. There is so much going on here with the clouds, and the rays of the sun spreading vertically behind the clouds.
After a week of misty, rainy weather, we enjoyed a weekend of sunshine. The plants were starting to get soggy, blossoms moldy. We love the winter rain, but it's nice to have a sunny day now and then, when the plants can dry out just a little bit, and pollinators emerge. We were surprised to spot this beautiful orange gulf fritillary in the garden. It obviously enjoyed the warmth of the sun. Visiting the Berzerkeley salvia shrub, it spent a long time at each blossom, sipping n
Every day I am reminded by local wildlife why it's important not to remove every single "weed" from the patio and garden. I took these photos of a Bewick's wren through a glass sliding door, while it inspected a dandelion plant for insects. The wren spent a few minutes with the plant, so I suspect it did find some insects for a snack. A messy patio or garden will provide insects necessary for a bird's diet, especially in the winter. Bewick wrens will also occasionally eat fru
Some plants seem transformed by our winter rain. The leaves of this Baja fairy duster Calliandra californica are beaded with raindrops. This drought tolerant evergreen is native to Baja California, and produces scarlet red tufted flowers nearly all year round. It provides larval food for Lycaenid Butterflies such as the Acmon Blue, Western Pygmy Blue and Gray Hairstreak. We have this one planted in a large container on the patio. When it bloomed last year, it was frequently v
These days, we just never know who we'll see around the backyard. This is a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a small olive greenish songbird with a white wingbar with a blackish bar adjacent on the wing. The faint white eye ring makes it seem to have very large eyes. When the adult males get excited they flash a brilliant red crown. In the summer, these little birds are commonly found in spruce-fir forests across the Northwestern United States and throughout Canada, and nest high in tre