Sunday, August 21, 2016

Dragon Fruit Blossom

Dragon Fruit blossom on the epiphytic jungle cactus Hylocereus costaricensis.  This plant originates in Central America where it was cultivated for food.  It is also called Pitaya roja or red-fleshed pitaya.  Hylocereus polyrhizus is a synonym.  The fruits are sweet but slightly tart, have red, shiny exteriors covered with green bracts.  The flesh of the fruits is a dark pink with tiny black seeds.  In nature, these beautiful, noctunal flowers are pollinated by bats and, if they open early enough, also by bees.  The flowers open in the evening, being fully open by around nine or ten at night, and are typically wilted by the next afternoon.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Electric Blue Acara

Electric Blue Acara.  Newest fish in the tank.  Do you think it'll eat the java ferns?

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Wow, Crazy Bee-Eating Spider!

Spider and hapless bee, enmeshed alive in spider silk, all in a blink of an eye, as she spun the bee round and round, coating it in the toughest netting to return tonight for a living feast.  She set a huge, strong web right next to a patch of blooming ice plant and was reeling in bee after bee in a steady wagon train of future meals.  You would think she'd get tired of wrapping bees after a while but she never tired and never wavered.  As for those mounds on her back?  I'm not sure but perhaps they're eggs for future generation of spiders?  Yikes.




Sunday, July 24, 2016

July 2016 San Diego Judging Center American Orchid Society Awards

July 2016 San Diego Judging Center American Orchid Society Awards

Cattleya Dean's Flair 'Sunset Valley Orchids' AM 85pts

Cattleya Leoloddiglossa 'SVO Speckled Blue' FCC 90pts

Cattleya tenebrosa 'Windflower' AM 85pts

Cattleya warscewiczii 'Fatima' HCC 78 pts

Laeliocatarthron Silver Maker 'Sunset Valley Orchids' AM 80pts

Paphiopedilum Ap Philip 'Seagraves' AM 80pts

Paphiopedilum Carolyn Butcher 'Arnie' HCC 78pts

Paphiopedilum Crouching Tiger 'Piedmont' HCC 78pts

Paphiopedilum Temptation 'Seagraves' AM 80pts

June 2016 AOS Awards for San Diego Judging

June 2016 awards given at the San Diego American Orchid Society Judging Center


Cattleya warscewiczii 'Fabio Nahas' AM/AOS

Cattleya Zip 'Red Velvet' AM/AOS

Enanthleya Purple Martins 'Arnie' HCC/AOS

Phrag Living Fire 'James Wright' HCC/AOS

Rodrumnia Cherry Hollow 'Very Cherry' AM/AOS

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Garden for the Hummingbirds

The Hummingbirds are back in full strength and having some natural nutrients in their diet is always a good thing.  As it happens, I found myself at the nursery today and a bunch of Salvia species and hybrids and a little hysop found its way into my garden to provide the hummers a little bit more than just sugar/hummingbird food mix that I put into the feeders.

Hummingbird Hysop

Pineapple Sage

Salvia 'Amistad'

Salvia urica var compacta

Sunday, May 29, 2016

American Orchid Society Awards for the San Diego Region for May, 2016

American Orchid Society Awards for the San Diego Region for May, 2016

Ansellia africana 'Rainbow Valley' HCC/AOS

(Blc Willette Wong X Pot Mem Jim Nickou) 'Arnie' AM/AOS

Encyclia Rioclarense 'Arnie' AM/AOS

Encyclia Rioclarense 'Arnie' AM/AOS

(Laelia praestans x Laelia crispata) 'Brazil Treasure' AM/AOS

Myrmecocattleya Mem Louise Fuchs 'Purple Rain' FCC/AOS

Paph Jolly Holiday 'Seagraves' AM/AOS

Phal Haur Jih Fancy 'Cherie CT #2' AM/AOS

Phal Haur Jih Fancy 'Cherie CT #3' AM

American Orchid Society Regional Judging Awards for the San Diego Judging Center, April, 2016

American Orchid Society Regional Judging Awards for the San Diego Judging Center, April, 2016

Brassavola nodosa 'Big Deal' AM/AOS

Comparettia x maloi 'Windflower' AM/AOS

Paphiopedilum wenshanense 'Arnie' HCC/AOS

Phalaenopsis Sogo Rose 'Arnieberry' AM/AOS

Renanthera imschootiana 'Feuerbach' AM/AOS

Renanthera imschootiana 'Feuerbach' AM/AOS

Tolumnia velutina 'Isabella' CCM/AOS

Saturday, March 05, 2016

March San Diego American Orchid Society Awards

Here are the awards from the March American Orchid Society Judging in San Diego, California.

Dendrobium Greta Snow 'Charley's Favorite' AM/AOS

Restrepia lansbergii 'DMH' AM/AOS 

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