Friday, January 29, 2016

Jackrabbit on the Run!


This large Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus, was entertaining a wonderful couple who were nice enough to point him out to me, prior to him bounding off into the bushes.  As opposed to those cute little cottontails, jackrabbits are quite large, super fast when on the run, and are actually in a different genus.  Here, at the Tijuana Estuarine Reserve, they have desert cottontails, Sylvilagus audobonii, also known as Audubon's cottontail.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Female American Kestrel Falco sparverius

Female American Kestrel, Falco sparverius, at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, resting on barbed wire while scanning the grass below for grasshoppers, lizards and other small prey.  It always amazes me how birds leisurely lounge on  barbed wire without ever apparently getting poked.  I've even seen birds on Chollas cactus (for example, the cactus wren), which is no small feat.

Broad-Winged Hawk

A Broad-Winged Hawk, Buteo platypterus, hunting for rabbits, mice, lizards and other small prey at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve.  This particular, rather large hawk appears to be staring directly at me, or perhaps my small dog which was walking with us, deciding if we were an appropriate meal.  With some relief, I note that it decided that we were not.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Huge Flock of Wintering Willets


A huge flock of Willets (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus), in their Winter colors, adopts a Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) or two and a Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa), all rising up in unison forming a zig zagging cloud of  wings, confounding hungry hawks.  Tijuana Estuarine Preserve, San Diego, California

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Nightmare Goatfish!

Bandtail Goatfish, Weke Pueo in Hawaiian, with a small Papio (Jack in English).  Small papio will hang out with goatfish, often eating small shrimp and other critters scared up off the bottom the by the goatfish, which grubs in the sand.  This particular somewhat uncommon goatfish is rumored to be hallucinogenic, if eaten (particularly the eyes and guts...bleah), causing nasty nightmares.  I'd bet it's caused by something that this particular goatfish eats.  Weke, pronounced veh-keh, is the generic name for goatfish in Hawaiian.  Pueo, if I recall, was owl in Hawaiian, perhaps alluding to the weird nightmares it causes when eaten.  As for me, I think it's one of the more beautiful goatfish and would just as soon leave it to live a long and happy life in the ocean.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

December American Orchid Society Awards for the San Diego Judging Region


Cattleya trianae 'Supreme' HCC/AOS


Clowesetum Maeve 'SunsetValleyOrchidsFreckles' AM/AOS = Clowesia Rebecca Northern X Ctsm. Mark Dimmitt


Ctsm Millie's Frilly Dragon 'SVO Frills' AM/AOS


Ctsm spitzii 'SVO Gold' FCC/AOS


Phragmipedium Don Wimber 'Amazon Sunset' HCC/AOS





October American Orchid Society Awards for the San Diego Judging Center


Gomesa colorata 'Jenny' AM/AOS


Gomesa colorata 'Jojo s Firecracker' HCC/AOS



September AOS San Diego Awards


Cattleya (Laelia) colnagoi_Windflower CHM/AOS


Cattleya jenmanii_Kimberly Burzell AM/AOS


Vanda falcata_Feuerbach CCE/AOS


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Monaco/Monte Carlo and Cannes, France

 Cannes and Ile Sainte-Marguerite

 Cap-d'Ail, Monte Carlo/Monaco, and Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
Venting gas at the refinery at Etang de Berre/Marignane.  It was burning, every time I passed by; I don't know if it burns 24x7x365 but it seems to be a constant presence.

Carry le Rouet

Some shots from Carry le Rouet, France.

Pup resting on the beach while sitting on his master; you can see a tiny bit of knee to the left.

Odd two tailed plane passing overhead.

Flock of Egrets

Fossilized scallop from an ancient seabed.  Do you suppose there is a tectonic plate being forced up?

Cutest lab-terrier mix.  Mom was this tiny terrier and dad was a very persistent black lab.  He was up for adoption as his owner was moving into a small apartment and didn't have space for a lab mix.

The Carry le Rouet lighthouse under cloudy skies.

An old, unused boat ramp.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Chateau de la Barben




This photo of the Chateau de la Barben was shot from the road, looking towards the castle.  This mediaeval fortress, mentioned as early as 1069, belonged to King RenĂ© of Provence in the 15th century. It was, at some point, sold to a merchent family (who sold furs and pelts) that supported the King, and was altered and extended in the 16th and 17th centuries.  The keep was burned at the beginning of the French revolution and the family, who supported the King, was executed (beheaded) later during
the revolution.  Restoration work was carried out in the 19th and 20th centuries and the castle remains run and maintained by private owners who conduct tours, cater out events and run a
hotel at the site.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Day in Marseille

A quick trip to the Musee des Civilisations de l'Europe et la Mediterranee in Marseille and some of the surrounding sights.  The weather was bright, sunny with a light breeze.  The museum and the surroundings were quite captivating and lunch after was wonderful, but then that is another story for another day.

Athlete vainquer au pugilat

Cathedrale de La Major, under restoration

Ceres Borghese

Greek Vase Oenoechoe

Icone au Saint Michel Pesant Les Ames

A guy jumping up and down on a tightrope, as if walking was not hard enough!

La Vierge et l'Enfant by Sheikh Sana'an

Medusae Jellyfish in the calm waters outside the Museum

A huge storage vase for grain or olive oil

The old entrance to Marseille

Carry Le Rouet

In the Summer, Carry Le Rouet is a bustling tourist town along the Mediterranean in the South of France.  In the Fall, it is mostly quiet with locals walking along the board walk and some of the restaurants closed along the beach during the cooler, windier weather.  Here are a few shots from Carry le Rouet.

The docks at the fishing harbor.

Really cool blue lights along the boardwalk.

Kite surfer taking advantage of the strong winds.

A seagull pecking at a fish that the fisherman left for him.

One of several windsurfers taking advantage of the strong winds and choppy waters to get in some combination wind/wave surfing.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

What's Jade Green and Smooth?

Mang Mountain Pit Viper, Zhaoermia mangshanensis, is the largest of the Asian pit vipers, growing to over 11 feet in length, making it the largest of the Asian pit vipers.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Red Phalaenopsis!

Dtps. I-Hsin Red Rose
Red Phalaenopsis have been somewhat elusive.  While there are some, few have large numbers of flowers and the long arching sprays that most of us associate with Phalaenopsis.  Here's a pretty one that's well along the way towards that goal.

The View From Idyllwild

Went for a short hike to the end of the road in one of the subdivisions in Idyllwild, California.  Here's the view!  Very peaceful with wild asters and lupine.  Worth the drive.

Huge Carpenter Ants!


Carpenter Ant, Campo, California. Carpenter ant swarms usually occur in the spring and are a sign that a colony is nesting somewhere inside the structure. They usually get into a house through holes, where trees branches contact the house or from wooden structures attached to the house like a porch or deck.

While large carpenter ant colonies can cause structural damage, it is not as serious as that from termites. The degree of any potential damage can only be determined by locating the nest area.

Looking for Perseids

Went up to Campo, California to see the Persieds.  We were two days off peak and there was nary a meteor.  Perhaps a few and a few helicopters and jets to boot.  Still, it was awesome to see all those stars!

Monday, August 10, 2015

A New Look at the Naked Lady Amarallis, Amarillis belladonna

Amarillis belladonna, commonly called the Naked Lady Amarillis, due to it's bare stems that rise out of the ground in late Summer and Fall, is typically a light pink color.  However, I happened upon a batch of 50 mixed bulbs that had been hybridized some time ago, by a now deceased hybridizer.  The bulbs were being sold on EBay fairly inexpensively and had apparently been growing wild in the desert.  Most were still moderately small so I've been waiting for about 2 years for these to start to bloom.  I think it was worth the wait.  Of course, I'm a plant lover, so...  Note that these need very little if any water during the Summer and like well drained soil.

This clone is just a hair darker than the typical variety but has the most wonderful striping.

An albino clone that is quite delicate and elegant.

Here is a particularly bright colored clone, one of my favorites.

This is the typically colored Amarillis belladonna, a wonderfully robust and hardy grower.