Results from the Great Backyard Bird Count 2022
Hermit thrush on a dried California figwort stem in our backyard. The results are in! More than 320,000 participants from all over the globe sent in observations, sharing more than 120,000 images. More than 7,000 bird species were identified. Watch this wonderful video with more details of the results https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epzxFIVCoMo
Mealtime for birds in the garden
I never tire of observing creatures in our garden. Some of the birds visiting this past week were Brown-Eyed Bushtits, who always travel in flocks. This is one of the bushtits on a branch of the Ray Hartman ceanothus shrub, eating either seeds or caterpillars. Other regular visitors are Bewick's wrens. Trees and shrubs in our and neighbors yards keep the wrens here all year-round. Here one of the wrens pokes its beak into a deteriorating gate post for insects. We keep cutting
Hooray for native bees
This post is from the Facebook page ‘the bees in your back yard’. Free online book about our native bees HERE: https://efotg.sc.egov.usda.gov/references/public/SC/Bee_Basics_North_American_Bee_ID.pdf?fbclid=IwAR07ppbycXtDP4ilAFsHOFtAC6LpMUDnFHudhCjMymviOEeH3_XUAbHvyyI
Owls will keep down the rodent population anywhere they inhabit. Within a season a group of owls can eliminate a population of several hundred mice and other rodents. By putting out rodenticide, not only would you be able to eliminate far fewer rodents, but you would also poison the important owl population, as well as other animals and pets. California wineries are now using owl nest boxes in their vineyards, and seeing a difference in rodent control. Read more about this he
The Great Backyard Bird Count
The Great Backyard Bird Count is celebrating its 25th anniversary! You too can be part of this important global event, going on now February 18th through February 21st. Be a citizen scientist and participate in this momentous event, collecting data for the Cornell Lab, Audubon and Birds Canada/Oiseaux Canada! Details here: https://www.birdcount.org/
Oh what a sunset this evening
This was the grand finale of this evening's sunset. I don't remember ever seeing such cloud formations in the last rays of the sun. Just five minutes before the grand finale this is what the sky was like. That glow! You would almost expect ET to arrive at any second. The sunset started like this, with strewn clouds of molten gold. The start to finish of this fascinating sunset sequence was around 15 minutes.
Importance of Community Scientists and Native Plants
You too can participate in helping our feathered friends and scientists! For information click on this: https://www.audubon.org/content/hummingbirds-home
First blooms of the year in the native patch
It's that time of year for some of the native plants to start to bloom, especially after the December rains and a few unusually warm February days. This California poppy is blooming in almost the identical spot where the first one bloomed last year. Since I leave the plants go to seed and just partially cut them back in late fall, this must be the same plant. The orange color is so incredibly solid and bright, it's easy to understand how pollinators quickly locate them. Just
Ceanothus in bloom
All the rain showers in late December resulted in this loveliness. the Ray Hartman ceanothus and one of the lavender shrubs in the northern corner of our native plant patch, at sunset. I just worry that the most of the native bees aren't emerging yet, and won't benefit from the ceanothus pollen and nectar. Compared to this time last year, the ceanothus was also in full bloom and there were native bees visiting. Fingers crossed. A closeup of some of the ceanothus blooms.
Best hobby in the world?
Indeed it is!!! Your local native plant society here: https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/links.shtml?fbclid=IwAR329A98aj5bpgINfq-N3C5UEI6VcUHd7_HF25L21TbfuFlAWDZ1idrW9eU