Back from the tundra
Ah, the Golden-crowned Sparrows are back for the winter. This one is sitting in the Ray Hartman ceanothus shrub. These birds arrive earlier and stay longer on their California wintering grounds than almost any other bird species. They eat many kinds of seeds during migration and the winter, as well as fruits such as apples, olives and grapes. Insects such as ants, wasps, moths, and termites are also part of their diet. The Golden-crowned sparrow is another reason why we need
Baja Fairy Duster Post- Atmospheric River
Well we certainly had a good soaking when the atmospheric river poured down on us, day and night, for several days last weekend and early this week. Fortunately, since we live in the hills, there was no flooding. We made sure to clear the storm drain at the curb below us, and there was no danger of mudslides where we live. The garden looks greener and all the plants have perked up, including this native Baja Fairy Duster plant Calliandra californica that has been producing b
Put your leaves in an area of your yard set aside as a "wild space". You'll see many birds foraging through the leaves for food, and twigs for nesting material.
The overwintering monarch count so far very encouraging
A 3,500 % increase in numbers from the previous year? This report from Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, California is very encouraging, indeed! Watch this video and read the wonderful news: https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/environment/article255185907.html#storylink=sectionheadlines
Leave the Leaves!
Watch this video by S&K Wildflower Rescue Nursery, to learn why leaf litter is so important to our pollinators and other wildlife. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmDSlpXG7YE
After a day of rain and no sun
Another gray day with oh, so welcome rain. Then at the end of the day, this sunset!
An unusual sunset
This evening we were finally blessed with rain showers that lasted for about an hour. As we sat at the dining table, enjoying the rare sound of soft raindrops (no rain since late Spring), I looked out the window and saw this sunset. Normally we see the sun setting much further to the right of the horizon, just behind Mount Tamalpais. This was taken a few minutes later from another angle.
More native plants mean more insects
House wren nestlings feeding on a caterpillar Photo: Doug Tallamy Here is a great article by professor and author Doug Tallamy, who encourages native plantings for gardeners to attract insects to their yards: https://thecurrentga.org/2021/10/13/the-tide-native-plants-bring-more-birds/?fbclid=IwAR0pi9C2RHptYQsV7-JOhQ7CWtT_0JB-l1pqiO8pQm3UXAc3jwUb-cLu7WY
Bewick's Wren visiting
It took me about a year to figure out what bird this is. And now I hear and see these chattering birds, Bewick's wrens, all the time. They are medium sized wrens with a long white stripe that starts over their eye and extends further back. They have long tails that are often kept upright. These birds, once common throughout the US, have now almost completely disappeared east of the Mississippi River, and their population is also declining in parts of the western US. Their num
The Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly and its host plant
Photo by Tim Wong (@timtast1c) The beautiful blue Pipevine Swallowtail Battus philenor is rarely sighted these days here in Northern California because there isn't enough of its only host plant, the California native pipevine, California Dutchman's-pipe, or California snakeroot to be found. However there is a movement among local pollinator groups, of which I am a member, to plant more of the Dutchman's-pipe in gardens. Since this plant isn't offered for sale in local plant