Every day more and more California poppies are opening up in the garden. They are so brilliantly colored and cheerful, as they gently bob in the breeze. After some spring rains the ground cover is lush and green. But unless we have more rain, it could dry up within a matter of weeks.
Oh butterflies, how we missed you! Here a Common Hairstreak Strymon melinus is checking the blossom of a ground cover plant next to the native patch. The tiny lavender colored blossoms and leaves of the ground cover look quite large from the perspective of the butterfly. The same hairstreak viewed from a rear angle, as it sips nectar from a clover blossom. The black-pupilled red spot on the tips of the hind wings is considered to be a "false head" that diverts predators from
As we were having breakfast, we heard a big thump on the roof. I assumed that the neighborhood crows were being extra rambunctious. Then another loud thump. And suddenly there they were, three wild turkeys jumped from the roof to the garage roof, which is level with our floor. They were right outside the window, walking around the roof. Two of the turkeys left, presumably by flying down from the garage roof. This one remained, looking down from the roof and then staring towar
Today I observed for the first time this year a Vivid Dancer Argia vivida. It is a female in the pale gynomorphic form, which is black and white. She was flying close to the ground, around our native patch. Male Vivid Dancers are cobalt blue and black.
While standing in our front yard today, observing bees in the Ray Hartman ceanothus, I heard rustling sounds in our next door neighbor's magnolia tree. At first I thought the sounds were coming from a Western Scrub Jay couple that seem to be building a nest high up in the tree. But the birds were Cedar Waxwings, and there were many of them. They quietly perched on branches or hopped around, making the rustling sounds among the leaves in the tree and didn't seem to mind me obs
You know that Spring truly is here when different bees arrive. This is a Habropoda digger bee female foraging for pollen in a blossom on the Chiapas Sage shrub. A few days I noticed a Habropoda flying around the Ray Hartman ceanothus. It was the very first time I ever saw one of these bees, so it's an exciting observation. The females nest in soil, sometimes in flat, bare ground and usually in vertical banks. Several Mountain Carpenter bees Xylocopa tabaniformis orpifex circl
When the cedar waxwings eat, they feed in large groups. The waxwings are eating berries on a tree that my neighbor calls the volunteer tree. It is growing between our fences, and is quite huge. I have yet to figure out what kind of tree it is, but it certainly is popular with bees in the autumn and winter, when it has clusters of tiny pale yellow blossoms. When the blossoms dry up and the berries develop in February through April, the waxwings gorge themselves. This waxwing l
Here is the first blossoming stem on the Hummingbird Sage Salvia spathacea. Such a lovely pink among the green foliage and dried California figwort Scrophularia californica branches and seedheads. I don't cut down the dried parts of the figwort until temperatures are warmer. In the meantime the dried branches provide perches, while the seedheads have been a source of nutrition for some visiting birds. Lovely Baby Blue Eyes Nemophila menziesii mixed in with Sweet Alyssum. In
English ivy is invasive and tries to take over our fences and hedges. We removed the ivy completely from one fence, and are now trying to grow passionflower instead, to provide another host plant for the local fritillary butterflies. Some of the ivy just gets cut back, leaving a canopy so that birds can eat the berries in the winter. Lately the American robins feast on the berries every morning. This one watched me for a while before resuming its meal. Now eating a berry. You