Sunday, November 16, 2014

A nice afternoon at the San Diego Safari Park

Yes, it's freezing in much of the continental U.S. (the Polar Vortex strikes again!) at the moment, but it's still sunshine and warm afternoons here in sunny San Diego.  The animals at the Safari Park tend to enjoy the cooler weather and are more active (less of the curled up in a hidden corner of the exhibit type of thing...).  As an added bonus, the park tends to be a bit slower, as most people are home gearing up for the holidays, not to mention the afternoon Charger's game, so the lines tend to be short or non-existent and the crowds at the exhibit are a little smaller.  As an added bonus, the migratory waterfowl are starting to arrive from Canada and Alaska, some of them settling into the large lake at the Safari Park, including some pintails and ruddy ducks.  Most of them have figured out how to beg for duck food along with their captive cousins, so there's quite the commotion down at the lake.  Throw in some of the cutest baby cheetahs and the new tiger exhibit, and it made for a fun afternoon!  For all of you in the cold North, stay warm and stay safe.  Our thoughts are with you.

 Baby Cheetahs!  There were two separate groups of baby cheetahs.  The larger group is shown here, having a meal with Mom.

 Common Galinule

 Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec, a tiny mammal from Southwestern Madagascar.  While it looks similar, it is not related to the true hedgehog.

Sumatran tiger, enjoying the afternoon sun.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Aztec Fireworks over Qualcomm Stadium

Some amazing Aztec fireworks last night at Qualcomm Stadium, just visible over Kensington, from the back yard. They put on quite a spectacular show!  You can see the palm trees of Kensington in the bottom of the photo. It's a weird effect, as it looks like they were launching fireworks at ground level when really, they're being launched way down in Mission Valley. I can only imagine the view some of the people in Kensington must have!

American Orchid Society San Diego Judging Center November 2014 Awards

Encyclia dichroma 'Arnie' AM/AOS.  A nice, flat specimen of a somewhat uncommon species.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit, called Pitahaya or Pitaya in Asia, is the fruit of the Hylocereus cactus.  This one still shows the remnants of the glorious white flower which typically lasts only a day, to be replaced by the bright red fruit.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Blooms Around The House

 Cattleya bowringiana variety coerulea 'Blue Angel' HCC/AOS.  This is a "blue" variety of the normally lavender species (see below), caused by a rare genetic mutation.

 Cattleya guttata variety coerulea

 Cattleya bowringiana (tipo)

 Hoya australis.  This one is super fragrant at night!

 Laelia pumila (sib cross)

Paphiopedilum henryanum 

 Paphiopedilum sukhakulii variety album.  The is an albino variety of this normally black spotted species!

Phalaenopsis Ox Happy Girl 'Sweetheart'

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hummingbird Wars!

Allen's and Anna's Hummingbirds fighting over a prime perch.  The Allen's hummingbirds are a little smaller than the Anna's Hummingbirds but make up for it by being extra feisty!

 Allen's hummingbird rushing off to chase another hummingbird, while defending it's perch.

 Allen's hummingbird chasing an Anna's hummingbird.

Anna's hummingbird defending itself from the little Allen's hummingbird (see the talons up above).

Monday, October 06, 2014

The Blue Angels MCAS Miramar Airshow

There's something about military aircraft thundering by that never fails to impress me.  These are F/A-18 Hornets.  Perhaps it is the sheer speed and power of these planes or perhaps it is their ability to do amazing maneuvers in mid-air (including flying straight up and flying upside down!). Whatever the reason, these guys are pretty doggone amazing!

American Orchid Society Award at the San Diego International Orchid Fair

Zygopetalum New Era 'Windflower' HCC/AOS

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Hummer of the Day!

Male Anna's Hummingbird, Calypte anna, in flight.

The Tobacco Hornworm - Manduca sexta

Tobacco Hornworm, Manduca sexta, feeding on tomato leaves.  The tobacco hornworm feeds on plants in the family Solanaceae, including tobacco, tomatoes and plants in the morning glory genus, Datura.  The tobacco hornworm is apparently able to isolate and store Nicotine ingested from its tobacco host (note that tomatoes also contain a nicotine alkaloid called tomatine) and excretes Nicotine, which is toxic to most animals, as a deterrent to predation.  The Tobacco hornworn may be distinguished from the Tomato Hornworn via the white diagonal stripes and red horn on the Tobacco hornworm versus the V-Shaped white markings and black horn on the Tomato hornworm.  This particular worm stripped a 3 foot tall tomato plant nearly bare of leaves in about a weeks time, before I finally found him holding tightly to a stem.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Turkey vulture - Cathartes aura meridionalis

Turkey vulture, Cathartes aura meridionalis, flying low at the San Diego Safari Park.  While they are occasionally seen in San Diego proper and all down the Baja, there seem to be a inordinately large number of them hanging out at the Safari Park.  I suspect that they are opportunistically feeding on left overs from the official zoo denizens.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Photo Safari

It was a bright sunny day and the baby animals were out in full force at the Safari what better time for a photo safari!

 Moi and one of the safer tigers

 Baby Giraffes

 Some wild black ibis hanging out in the pond

 Black rhino and calf

 Bongos in the water hole

 Baby Cheetah

 Leucistic Ellipsen Waterbuck Calf  and Mother

 Lion cub at play

 Pierre and the golden tiger

Snarly Sumatran Tiger

Friday, September 26, 2014

Coelogyne massangeana

Coelogyne massangeana, also known as Coelogyne tomentosa and Coelogyne dayana, is from the mountains of Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, and Java.  This one is blooming outdoors in San Diego.

Laelia pumila

Laelia pumila, a first bloom from a sib cross from Brazil.

Cattleya Chocolate Drop 'Kodama' AM AOS

Cattleya Chocolate Drop 'Kodama' AM AOS, a cross of C. aurantiaca X C guttata.  An old cross that still brightens up the room.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Stanhopea panamensis

This just opened today.  It was labled as Stanhopea panamensis.  This species is native to Panama where it frequents hot, wet, lowland forests.