Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Moth on Your Mailbox?

Found this moth perched on my mailbox. It was pretty tiny so the picture's not as sharp as I would like. Guess I should have hauled out the tripod but hey... Still, it's pretty cool. If this was sitting on a tree trunk you would never see it. However, on a black mailbox, it does kind of stand out. If you're a So Cal moth expert, feel free to suggest a name. While I look up bird names, I figured I'd just appreciate this little moth as a "moth."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Momma Hooded Oriole

This is a picture of the female Hooded Oriole, Icterus cucullatus, from the mating pair in my back yard. The female is especially fond of coming to my hummingbird feeder for nectar, possibly because she is feeding chicks. As you can see, they are very fond of my Banana trees (Apple Bananas?) for both nesting and just plain perching about.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Merry Meerkat

Momma Meerkat, Suricata suricatta, at play with her pups. Meerkats are related to the Mongoose and live 12-14 years. They sure are cute, aren't they? Kind of makes you wonder what the joke is.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Little Wren in Your Dryer Vent?

This little Rock Wren, Salpinctes obsoletus, has taking a liking to my neighbor's dryer vent. I thought it was really cute how she lifts her little foot up, uses her wing to lift the flap and IN SHE GOES! The neighbors are going to clean their vent, I suspect... Oh well. So much for the entertainment...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Candy-striped Water Lilly

Well, I've got this candy striped water lilly growing in a lined oak barrel. It seems kind of silly but I really look forward to seeing it bloom once a year. I suppose, if I put it in a bigger space with more sun I might actually get more than one measly flower a year! Still, it's fun. They close up every night and open again in the morning.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Hooded Orioles Are Nesting!

There's been a Hooded Oriole, Icterus cucullatus, living in my back yard for several years. He occasionally drinks out of the hummingbird feeder. This year, however, he has found himself a mate and they have built a nest! As in prior years, the nest is under one of the banana leaves. However, as opposed to the flimsy, partly built nests of prior years, this one is well made and it "sounds" like there are chicks inside. The nest opens along the axis of the leaf giving the chicks a safe haven from crows and other predators. Mom and Dad Oriole are virtual acrobats in manuevering around the leaf to pop in and out of the nest. None of the chicks popped out for the camera but here's the nest anyhow.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Elephants and Such

This elephant was waiting patiently to get into it's enclosure/sleeping area. I'm not sure why but I guessed it was feeding time. Still, something about its expression looked so very sad. Tough to be an elephant in a zoo, I suspect. Still, eat, sleep, pose for the people and three square meals a day! More than some of us can say.

Wood Ducklings

Every Spring we get all kinds of ducklings in San Diego. Here is a picture of Momma Wood Duck, Aix sponsa, fiercely guarding her ducklings.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Panda Habits

Pandas like to do two things above all else: sleep and eat! This one was eating Bamboo like there was no tomorrow! It amazes me that anything can live on Bamboo, as coarse and fibrous as it is, but bamboo is what they eat and lots of it. The momma and baby pandas were, unfortunately, sleeping [aka lots of pictures of panda derrier]. At least Dad was putting on a show.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Riding Chihuahua

It was Earth day today and everyone was out enjoying the sun. This little Chihuahua was enjoying the sun while riding on this owner's shoulder! The owner asked his dog to sing and he started to yap. Quite the cute couple.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Spring Flowers

Here's a picture of the California Poppies and the wild Lupine in bloom off the side of U.S. Hwy. 15 on the road to the Santa Rosa Ecological Preserve. It's gotten hot now and the flowers are starting to taper off. It was a glorious Spring!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lucky to Live in San Diego

Two guys were flying this huge parafoil kite at Mission Bay the other day. I halfway expected it to take one of them with it as it was as big as the foils the kite surfers use. However, when I looked at the picture and what an absolutely gorgeous day it was, I realized that we're pretty lucky to be living in San Diego.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hummingbird Watch

Here are our little Anna's Hummingbird chicks one week later! Wow. Looks like they're all feathered out and ready to leave the nest!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Coots on the Run

There were two weiner dogs out chasing the coots today. Feisty little guys chased the coots some 25 feet out into the water before they realized that there is no way a little weiner dog can swim as fast as a coot. A+ for effort. D on intelligence. The owner just sat there and snapped a picture with her camera phone instead of controlling her pets. She'll give all of us dog owners or former dog owners a bad name! Leash lady, leash! But then there were only a few ruffled feathers and a little bruised doggy ego. No real harm done.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ansellia africana

Wow! Some of those African orchids are doozies! Shown is a very nice clone of Ansellia africana that followed me home from the last orchid show & sale. Go figure. The nice thing about taking pictures is that I now get to enjoy the flowers all year round!


There was a big crow winging over the canyon today. He would swoop in low over the roof and appear over the deck almost out of nowhere. The hummingbirds would scatter just before he showed up, kind of like fish scatter before a shark or a large jack shows up. I don't know how they know that the crow is coming but I can only gather that crows eat hummingbirds based upon their response. I know that the crow appears to have wiped out the pigeons nesting/pooping on the eaves of the house. Actually, the crow went to the nest and wiped out the baby pigeons which seemed to be a big disincentive for momma pigeon to nest there. I could hear it's big talons clicking on the roof tiles and on the skylight. The patio is a lot cleaner now... Crows are quite carnivorous, apparently.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hooded Oriole

This Hooded Oriole, Icterus cucullatus, was chirping up a storm in my back yard. They are wonderfully beautiful and stop by each Spring.

Indignant Parrot

This red-crowned parrot is looking rather indignant at having his photo taken from behind. I saw them again today, hanging out by the large palm tree in front of the law school. I think there is a nest in there but I haven't yet spotted it. Once again, I found myself missing my camera which was safely at home.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Enamored with Hummingbirds

I was hoping to get a picture of mom hummingbird with her chicks but she was being shy. It amazes me how fast these little guys grow in a week. Here's another photo of the chicks where you can see the metallic green feathers starting to fill in.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hummingbird Chicks

Mrs. Hummingbird's eggs have hatched. Soon to be a new generation of Anna's hummingbirds in the garden! Really cool and amazing how they are willng to build nests right next to human habitation.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Wouldn't You Rather Be in San Diego?

Here's one for those of you in the cold North. It was a little windy yesterday. As you would expect, the wind surfers and the kite surfers were out having a ball. Perhaps San Diego is not such a bad place after all...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Aye Ye Matey, Them be Parrots!

There was a flock of these Red-Crowned Parrots, Amazona viridigenalis, making a ruckus outside the law school tonight. Luckily, I had my flash and trusty 500mm lens with me. I think two are nesting in the palm tree out in front of the Law School.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Flock of American Coots on the Wing

I hate when photo opportunities come by and I don't have my Nikon. I had my little pocket cannon elf with me when these American Coots flew by and boy oh boy was I missing my Nikon. You get one shot on a slow camera like the elf. If it is blurry, it is blurry. It's good enough for you to get the general effect anyhow. They were out grazing on the grass and I was trying to get between them and the water so I could take their picture as they walked to the water. However, these coots were pretty skittish and lifted up as a big flock to fly to the water. There is something about a huge flock of birds flying that is still amazingly cool to me. Maybe that is just the kid speaking...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Back to the Orchid Show

Photo is of an Epidendrm hybrid. Many people keep the species or early hybrids in their yards. However, the hybridizing has gone a long way since those hybrids were made.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


Orchidaceae is the largest plant family in the world. They come in almost every form, color and shape imaginable not to mention fragrance, or in some cases, "smell." This Masdevallia is from the Andean cloud forests and its ancestors can still be found near Machu Picchu. While I didn't note the tag, I'd guess that it is a Masdevallia veitchii or a primary hybrid with vetchii. The really cool purple after-glow is from tiny vibrant purple hairs that cover parts of the flower.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Iceland Poppy Up Close and Personal

Iceland Poppy up close and personal. Lots of things around us are amazing if you only get close enough. On another note, a huge dog (St. Bernad-short hair mix) came up to me in a store where I was staring at these cool multi-layer, acrylic/resin paintings. The dog gently leaned against me, asking for a rub. Nothing quite like a dog's love. Again, lots of things around us are amazing if you only get close enough.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Umbrella man was out the other day, slowly, ever so slowly gliding across the bay. It's not glitzy. It will probably never make it as an Olympic sport. He's not a vision of grace. However, he seemed to be enjoying himself. That's all that matters. Free country, including the right to be a little, well, different.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tandem Kayak

You can tandem with whomever you want. Some of them, however, don't paddle as hard as others. I suppose the company makes up for the effort.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008