We definitely seem to have a lot of Yellow-Faced Bumble Bees Bombus vosnesenskii in the garden. They are so cute. Here is a rear view of one squeezing into a partially opened California poppy. Those little legs... The bee looks like it is wearing a hat, but that's the top of the poppy that is still stuck to one of the petals. Caught in the act! Some short-tongued bumble bees can't reach the nectar that is hidden deep in the long-tubed flowers of plants such as this Pozo Blue
We are so grateful for the fog that rolls in every evening and lingers until the middle of the next day. This is the view from our front porch of the thick layer of fog rolling in through the Golden Gate Bridge into the bay, and rapidly moving north. While much of the continent is suffering from horrendous heat wave temperatures, for now we are spared. Thank you, Mother Nature.
Last autumn was the first time I planted a coneflower seedling in a large container in our backyard. The seedling grew a couple of inches then gradually dried up. Since winter was approaching I hoped that the plant was simply going dormant. The container appeared to have nothing but soil in it. Then, a month ago the plant sprung to life, with a large stem growing taller and taller. Behold the beautiful coneflower Echinacea 'Rainbow Marcella'. The seeds of the coneflower, once
So exciting! The Summer Long-Horned Bees are back! This Summer Long-horned Bee male Melissodes robustior was perched on top of a dried California poppy stem, in the morning sun, in our native patch. I noticed it purely by chance, because these bees are quite small. On another dried California poppy stem, about twelve inches away from the Summer Long-Horned Bee, a Yellow-faced bumble bee Bombus vosnesenskii was perched, drying off in the sun and breeze after it accidentally fl
Monarch caterpillar on a native Showy milkweed leaf Monarch butterfly mamas have been busy laying eggs on our potted native milkweed plants, and now the eggs are hatching. The caterpillars are very tiny when they hatch, probably less than half a millimeter in length. They are always such a beautiful sight, and we always feel honored that monarch mamas choose our milkweed for their progeny. Monarch egg under a native Showy milkweed leaf There are always so many concerns regard
Winter sunsets are the most dramatic, but sometimes sunsets are also very multifaceted and beautiful during this time of year. This was our sunset yesterday. I find the layers so fascinating. A cloud like a splotch of ink with accents of orange, then wispy orange streaks the color of an orange creamsicle. And high above, yet another layer of strewn dark clouds with some accents of red. This photo was taken a little further left, just a couple of seconds before the top photo.
Fledglings are always so cute to observe. You can tell they are not quite adults, not only from the partially still fluffy plumage, but also from their behavior. Where adults tend to just visit to forage, and are constantly on the alert, the fledglings will sit a long time in one spot, gazing at their surroundings, sometimes preening their feathers. Here is a California Towhee fledgling that sat on the rim of a large planter containing a California ceanothus "Blue Skylark shr
This afternoon I was very fortunate to witness an Acmon Blue Plebejus or Icaricia acmon laying eggs on two of our native buckwheat plants. I happened to be walking by the native patch after putting some cut branches in our compost bin, when I noticed little fluttering movements. It was an Acmon Blue butterfly. I hadn't seen any for several months so it was such a wonderful surprise to see it visiting several plants. My camera was in the house, and I wasn't sure if the butterf
An Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon visited the native patch area of the garden, and rested a while on the Mexican salvia hedge. Poor butterfly has obviously survived several attacks. Both rear wing tails have been ripped off by predators. Fortunately the loss of the tails doesn't affect the butterfly's flight abilities. It rested at least five minutes on the same salvia branch, enjoying the warmth of the sun while being protected from the occasional gusts of wind, on a par
The potted native milkweed plants have awakened from their dormant period, some rising faster than the others. I'm trying to focus more on providing more nectar plants for the monarch and other butterflies, but still have at least nine of the native milkweed that I planted five years ago. With the emergence of the milkweed, monarchs are visiting the garden, laying eggs. My main concern, as usual, is that there is enough milkweed to feed those hungry monarch babies. Here, a We