Eurasian Reed Warbler Photo:Ralph Martin/Agami Photo Agency/Alamy I've always wondered how songbirds know to return to the same breeding territory year after year. Nearly eight decades ( 80 years!) of banding data collected and explained in this article in the Audubon Magazine: https://www.audubon.org/news/a-magnetic-stop-sign-tells-these-birds-where-nest?ms=digital-eng-social-facebook-x-20220100-nas_eng&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=20220100_nas_eng&fbcl
At one o'clock pm today there was some steady traffic at the bird bath. We were surprised to see a variety of birds, all visiting at the same time. Some were there to bathe, some to just take a few sips of water before moving on. Among others, there was a golden-crowned sparrow, a white-crowned sparrow, then a spotted towhee, and last but definitely not least a white-throated sparrow. Of these, the only one I was able to catch a photo of, was the white-throated sparrow. For s
At the end of each day, we have been treated to these absolutely breathtaking sunsets. I took these photos on three different days from our front porch. The top photo was taken on January 13th, the second on January 16th and the last one on January 18th. These fantastic sunsets in the Bay Area were the product of high pressure, upper-level moisture in the sky, and very light winds. This last photo reminds of a scene you would see in a scifi film. That mass of red clouds!
I always look forward to the arrival in the beginning of the year, of the first native bees in the garden. There are several Yellow-faced Bumble Bees Bombus vosnesenskii that have been visiting for several weeks. Sighting Black-tailed Bumble Bees Bombus melanopygus is a treat because they emerge from their nests early in the year, and tend to visit just through the summer. The queens typically forage on Ceanothus. Our Ray Hartman ceanothus shrub is blooming just a few feet aw
Now that we're having a dry spell mid-winter, and temperatures are in the low sixties, we're seeing a few monarch butterflies out and about. This one flew around the garden and landed in our neighbor's tea tree, where it decided to rest and soak in the warmth of the sun. The two dots on its back wings are shadows from the "clubs" at the tip of the butterfly's antennae. Apparently there's a year-round population that just stays in the Bay Area all year and doesn't migrate. Cit
After several weeks of nearly non-stop rain showers, the soil is very damp and mushrooms are appearing in our yard, some even in flower pots. They are fascinating, beautiful, and probably very toxic. Since I am not a mycologist or fungal biologist, I know enough to just leave the mushrooms alone. Whether edible or not, mushrooms, or fungi, form very important relationships with other plants in their ecosystem. Some fungi link up with other plant roots to form nodes, through w
A wild, non-native bee forages for pollen on the green roof of the University of Toronto’s GRIT Lab.GRIT Lab In dense urban environments, living roofs can recover space for pollinators where native ecosystems once persisted. Here is a great article with guidelines about where and how to best construct green roofs for pollinators: https://theconversation.com/bees-in-the-city-designing-green-roofs-for-pollinators-84688