Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bert the Hummingbird

Hummingbirds are territorial. Bert has adopted our little hummingbird feeder as his own, fiercely defending the feeder from other birds. He's been there for about a week or two and doesn't mind posing for a picture or two.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Aloe and Bees

Here's a short video of an Aloe in full bloom in the front yard in February. It really adds a lot of color to the yard in February when most things are not blooming yet. The bees are pretty happy as well as this aloe literally oozes nectar when in full bloom and attracts bees from miles around. I shot the video with the intent of capturing some of the bees on video. You can hear them buzzing around my head as I was taking the video.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Where Do Bactrian Camels Come From?

Where do Bactrian Camels come from? They come from the steppes and deserts of Asia. Bactria was apparently somewhere near modern day Uzbekistan. They also come from Momma and Daddy camels, as can be seen with these three camels enjoying a little family outing.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Candelillo or Yellow Elder

This is a picture of the Candelillo tree or Yellow Elder, also known as Tecoma stans. It was blooming the other day at the botanical gardens, making quite the display.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Golden Showers

My grandma had a golden shower tree kind of like this one. The cousins and I used to climp up here and camp out in the tree. I suppose it made us feel special since none of the parents could get up there. I wonder what happened to that old tree sometimes. Happy Saturday.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Well, here's another picture for you lizard lovers and would be herpetologists. This is a Sungazer; actually, one of a pair that was peeking outside of their dirt burrow. I dare say they look like spiney bed-fellows.

Sobralia Xantholeuca

Sobralias are neat things! They are terrestrial orchids and are fairly hardy at that. I've had a few growing outside and they even survived the freezing weather this past Winter. These, howerver, were blooming at the botantical gardens with great abandon.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mercy Air

Here's a picture of Mercy Air doing a fly by over the parade. They were probably staying ready in case there was an accident or someone had a case of heat stroke. Or, they might have just been enjoying the festivities. Either way, I was impressed at how much detail you can get out of the old 500mm lens. They were quite high and moving fast but that lens just zoomed right on in there! You can even see the medical symbol, i.e., the staff with the snake on it, painted prominently on their tail.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


The lilly pond at the botanical gardens was full of bullfrogs. You could hear them chirping from quite a distance. Most of the little ones jumped under the lillie pads as I got close but this big one wasn't worried for an instant. They're actually rather pretty although you won't find me kissing one anytime soon!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Furry Plants

This is an Aloe tomentosa in bloom at the local botanical gardens. I snapped this shot because of the unique, heavy, white hairs (hirsute) that cover the flowers. I wondered what their purpose is in nature, whether they protect the flowers from UV, repel water, gather dew, repel insects or other such useful purpose. I suppose they could just be hairy for hair's sake although it seems unlikely.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I've been lugging orchids around from the house to the greenhouse. Having a hilly lot has its drawbacks. Meanwhile, my Plumeria is blooming and I must admit, it is not nearly as pretty as this one at the botanical gardens. Such is life I suppose.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Naked Ladies

I've seen these for sale as "Naked Lady Amaryllis" or sometimes as Amaryllis belladonna; however, I suspect that they are not Amaryllis at all but rather Lycoris squamigera. They grow in huge green leafy clumps in the springtime. The leaves dry up and disappear in June. Then, in August (yes, now), huge spikes burst up out of the ground in an Amaryllis-like fashion. The spikes amazingly go from near nothing to 3 foot blooming spikes in a week or two, making a tremendous display. If you live in zone 9-10 (aka California or other warm spot), they are hardy, quick growing and very showy. These are from my front yard.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Fruit Lovers Puzzle

I found this fruit ripening at the botanical gardens the other day. I have no idea what it is but it was quite bright and showed good texture so I snapped a picture. Both the fruit and the leaves are reminiscent of lychee (lichee, leechee) as if they are some sort of related species. If you recognize this fruit, please send a comment as I searched google high and low and came up notably empty. I may have to go back to the botanical gardens and hunt for a sign...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Chain Orchid

Here is one of my favorite orchids, a Dendrochilum filiforme. A large plant can have many tens of thousands of pendant, crystalline flowers and makes quite a sight. They are pretty easy to grow and fill up a backet quickly. Everyone should have one.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Killer Bunny

Isn't it amazing how a flash can give anyone the eyes from Hell? Don't they look just totally demonic? It even makes this cute little bunny look like the rabid, vicious, killer bunny from Hell! I'm told it is just the light reflecting off of the blood vessels of the inside of the eye. It still looks like rabid killer bunny to me! Muuhahah...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Rufous Hummingbird

I found this Rufous Hummingbird hanging out at the Quail Botanical gardens the other day. It's pretty amazing that a flash works this well at about 20 feet distance but he was just hanging out and I was keeping the Nikon very busy. These guys are one of the few hummingbird species (as in only) that migrate all the way up to Alaska although this one obviously found a good thing at the Botanical Gardens here in San Diego.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Supportive Mom

They say that the parents go into the closet when the kids come out. While this Mom was a little camera-shy when she that big lens of mine pointed her way, I had to snap a picture because it means so much to me to see parents that are willing to get out there and stand up for their kids. Way to go, lady. Good job.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Power Squirt

I dare say squirt guns have come a long way since I was a kid. We had those little plastic pistol squirt guns that shot perhaps 5 or 10 feet. They have squirt rifles that go a good thirty feet these days. I was carefully guarding the telephoto lens with these guys around!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Competing with the Peacocks

Now that is a headdress for you! I'm betting there are sooo many feathers in there that it is downright work to keep that headdress from falling off as she goes down the parade. Either way, I was impressed by the colorful display and vivid expressions!

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Polar Bear Shake

It has been HOT and HUMID lately. Perhaps we are spoiled in San Diego by the normally dry weather but the mugginess is making it hard to sleep at night. This Polar Bear at the San Diego Zoo has a nice refrigerated pool to dive into which he is making good use of. Hope you are "bearing" the Summer heat as well.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Happy Friday!

There is beauty in the simplest of things if only we take the time to stop and appreciate them. This sunflower was blooming with an amazing 6-8 flowers per stock! The proud owner said it popped out of a bag of normal sunflower seeds. Wow! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Spanish Maidens in Drag

Hahah! I have but one thing to say. Oh my GOD! The material was pretty anyhow, but oh, the unibrow has got to go! I think you've got to have a hearty sense of humor to dress up like these two gentlemen did. They look soooo ugly you just have to laugh.