Poppies have always had such a special place in my heart, ever since I first saw fields of red poppies. I was a little girl at the time, visiting Europe with my mother and sister. Since I was born and raised in the tropics, I had never seen poppies before. Their delicate, ethereal beauty left such an impression on me, that in the autumn we are always strewing poppy seeds around the garden. California poppies are hardier, and they seem to do best in a lot of sun and where they
It's always such a treat to witness the Ray Hartman ceanothus blooming overnight. Okay, the blossoms were buds for several days. Then they all burst into bloom a few days ago. The scent of the blossoms is like honey. No wonder the bees and birds are constantly on the shrub all day. If you live in California, this is the plant for you. It's a native, grows quickly (from a little seedling to six feet within a couple of years), is drought tolerant, needs no water during the summ
After a couple of days of rain, the weather is sunny, a little nippy and breezy. This is the second time I've ever seen a red admiral butterfly Vanessa atalanta in our garden. It isn't certain if they migrate here, but red admirals overwinter in the Bay Area. The red admiral here rested for a long time, soaking in the warmth of the sun. How exciting is this - my first sighting of a California Tortoiseshell butterfly Nymphalis californica. The usual habitat for these butterfli
The late afternoon light is just magical. After the rain showers everything starts to look lush and green. As you can see, I left dried stalks on plants after I learned that many insects, including ladybugs nest in dried branches that are hollow. Also, birds eat seeds in the dried flowers. One afternoon I even saw an Anna's hummingbird eat insects from dried lambs ears spires. Soon we'll have Spring Bloom in the garden!
I've been wondering when the beautiful cedar waxwings would return for their annual visit. And here they are! They chatter and sing in the redwood tree for most of the morning. Below the redwood tree a "volunteer tree" decided to grow between the two fences that divide our and a neighbor's property. We still can't figure out what tree it is, but it currently has a lot of dark blue berries on it. And the cedar waxwings are enjoying those berries. This is the first year that I'
I feel so sad that I had to remove the bird bath bowl from the platform to avoid contributing to the spread of salmonella among songbirds. The salmonella mostly affects pine siskins and lesser goldfinches. But it has been advised by bird scientists in the Bay Area to take the precaution of removing bird feeders and bird baths to avoid any potential spread of salmonella to all birds. Now that I removed and thoroughly cleaned and stored the bath bowl, birds are still visiting t
The sunset two days ago was very unusual with streaks of rays. If you are sci-fi inclined, you could almost think that a message is being sent in code from the great beyond. Yesterday evening we witnessed this, a glorious combination of hues in gold and blue. Such drama!
Sadly I had to put away our bird bath for now. Even though I'm vigilant about keeping the bath fastidious, the current songbird salmonella outbreak in the Bay Area and other parts of Northern California is alarming. We haven't seen any sick or dead birds in our yard, but we don't want to contribute in any way to the spread of the disease. It is advised to take down all bird feeders and baths until April. Here is an article about the current outbreak: https://discoverwildcare.
A California Delta Sunflower that grew to six feet tall several years ago still stands in our native patch. After noticing birds using the dried up plant's stems as a perch, I decided to leave it standing. Aside from being a great observation point for birds, it turns out that there are some winter inhabitants. Note the small holes in the stalk (aligned with the slant of the stalk, near the bottom of the photo, and on the stem that is pointing to the right). I'm not sure what
It's that time of year again! From Friday February 12th through Monday February 15th, you can be a citizen scientist to help scientists track birds movements, especially migratory birds. You still have time to participate in this global event. The data is being collected by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Audubon Society and Birds/Oiseaux Canada. It's fun and easy, because you can just count birds in your own yard. Here is the link to participate: https://www.birdcount.o