Monday, June 30, 2008

Peeking Dove

You've heard of Peking Duck! No, not a typo, it's the Peeking Dove! This dove was checking up on me to make sure I didn't get too close with the camera. Close enough for this shot anyhow.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Oh Bleah!

Photograph a whale, pet a whale, feed a whale...but KISS a whale? No, they're not THAT cute.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sand Turtle

Do you look at the bits of shells and creatures as you walk down the beach? I do! I think it's great fun to see what's living just out of your reach in the waves. On this particular IB beach, I've seen bits of spiny lobster, bubble shells, moon shells, all sorts of clams, soft corals, sizeable crabs and, on this day, the once proud remnants of a sand turtle. We used to catch the little ones for fishing bait when I was a kid. There are bigger cousins in Hawaii called Kona crabs that are quite tasty. This one was in between. Just in case you're curious, they are quite carnivorous and, while I thought they lived on scraps, they are apparently capable of much more (see video below).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Another Albino

This is Ascocentrum ampullaceum var. album 'Fuchs' Snow'. The normal color is a bright lavender but this one is albinistic. Albinistic clones are fairly rare in nature. This species originates in Southeast Asia where its roots hang from the trees in the very ample humidity and it forms nice clumps. This particular plant, however, is a tissue propagation that was cloned off of a plant that was grown in Florida by Mr. Fuchs.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Palest Pink

This is a picture of a Dendrobium loddigesii blooming in my greenhouse. It was sold to me as an albino but it actually has the faintest tinge of pink and yellow. Perhaps a selfing might yield a few true albinistic clones.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Proud Parent

I brought the 500mm telephoto to see if I could get some better shots of the Least Terns. Here's a picture of one of the parents taking a rest. The chicks are still shuttling around the sand like little brown fur balls. Other parents are still sitting on eggs so they are apparently not all in sych with each other.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Turtle Surfing

I don't know what kind of turtle this was but he/she is a big one! Likes to surf too! Kawabunga dude! If you're wondering, I was randomly snapping pictures of the waves and this turtle just happened to pop up! What's the chance of that!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hot Days

Here's a sunset picture from the bathroom window. My new windows open up completely so I can snap pictures without getting the screen or the dust on the glass in the way. It's heading up to 100F or more today. I was potting orchids but I gave up. It's just too hot out there. Hope the little guys survive and the fogger doesn't run out of water... Whatever happened to June gloom? ...or is this global warming?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Surfing IB

What did you do on Father's Day? This guy was out surfing and enjoying a few nice ways and some peace and quiet.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Would Be Prince

Bullfrog in the setting sun. Would you kiss this frog on the off chance that he would be a prince? This frog was enjoying the setting sun from a prime location in the lilly pond.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Starfish on Pier

One of the fisherwomen on the Imperial Beach pier pulled up this starfish. Not the easiest thing to catch. I've never seen anyone pull up a starfish whether accidentally or on purpose. This one had suckered itself to the large lead sinker (not the bait and not the hook) and decided not to let go so....up it came!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ghost Orchid

You may have heard of the Ghost Orchid, Polyrrhiza lindenii, in the book, "The Orchid Thief." Well, this isn't it. Rather, this is its Cuban cousin, Polyradicion sallei. Oh, and Polyrrhiza was moved to Dendrophylax and then Garay moved it to Polyradicion. So, Polyrrihiza lindenii is now Polyradicion lindenii (named after Linden, go figure). Botanists are always moving things around but I suppose that is how they make their living and their reputation. The latest round of mass moves was in response to genetic testing that showed that much of the old classifications based on morphology were, well, just plain wrong. Go figure.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Taking the Effort Out

I ran into these two cute little dogs on Imperial Beach. They look like chihuahua mixes of some sort. I snapped their picture to show the leash that keeps them both heading in the same direction and tugging on each other rather than on their owner in the middle. Pretty cool invention!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Least Tern Chicks are Hatched

The hot weather is back. Clear skies. Toasty weather with just a little bit of cool breeze left. No June gloom. Just glorious sun. Meanwhile, the endagered Least Terns, Sterna antillarum, are nesting and the chicks are out and about. Here's a picture of one of the chicks cruising around the sand!

California Ground Squirrel

California has these cute but voracious critters called the California Ground Squirrel, Spermophilus beecheyi. They live in little burrows in the ground and like to sun on large rocks and boulders. This one was making himself at home at the Quail Botanical Garden.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Southern Gilia

I found this Southern Gilia, Gilia australis, blooming on the sand flats outside Coyote Canyon in March. The desert floor was carpeted with flowers.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

If Lizards Can Get Along, Why Can't People?

I found these two different species of fence post lizards sunning together on a big rock at the Quail Botanical Gardens. I thought to myself, if Lizards of different perspectives can get along, why can't people? Of course it's an election year and some minority inevitably gets demonized right around election time so some politician can pull out the electorate to vote for him. It's a foul practice, if you ask me. However, it preys on the bigotry, fear and ignorance in our own population so I suppose we have none other than ourselves to blame. Okay, no more grousing. Hope your week is going well. -WH

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Monday, June 09, 2008

Cat on a Leash!

I ran into a very nice couple at the Palm Canyon Trail near Anza Borrego. They had this adorable, exotic cat on a leash and they were walking it like a dog! If that doesn't beat all... It was a little camera shy but they coaxed it to pose for a picture for me.

As for me, I spent the weekend cleaning the canyon of stray shrubbery (stray suckers from the neighbor's plum tree, pepper tree, dandelions, etc.), planting some veggies, mexican sage, gallardia, sage, etc. The yard is starting to shape up! Almost presentable. Just a little more cleaning...just a little more.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Tandem with Children

As with most tandem kayak experiences, normally one person ends up doing more paddling than the other. In this case, the kid is getting a free ride and loving every minute of it! Not bad for service! Every kid should be able to do that.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Poppy Field

Field of wild poppies in Durance, France. They are located a little further North than we are and are still having a lush Spring.

Friday, June 06, 2008

White Phalies Still Pack a Punch

Phalaenopsis Maria Shriver. I love Spring! The orchids are blooming in the greenhouse including this white Phalaenopsis. It's notable for the excellent display spaced so that you can see every flower. These whites have been line bred since the 50s, many out of notable breeding in California derived from a chance polyploid, Phal. Cast Iron Monach. The natural form has a myriad of small flowers that hang from trees in the Philippines and flutter in the breeze, justifying the name "moth orchid."

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Lilly in the Setting Sun

Pink Water Lilly in the setting sun at the botanical gardens. The flowers were starting to close up for the night but were still open enough to put on a show.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Prickly Beauty

I was at the Botanical Gardens as the sun was setting and it is just amazing how everything lights up in the setting sun. Here is a picture of a really beautiful miniature yucca that was just blooming like a banshee (do banshees bloom?)! The little micro-bunnies were out munching and the bullfrogs were starting to croak. It was really peaceful. If only my back yard looked like that!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

What's Blooming in the Greenhouse?

Here's a Cattleya lueddemanniana that's blooming in my greenhouse. The original species comes from the hot coastal jungles of Venezuela. However, the fine ones you see in cultivation have been line bred since the 1800's. This one is a nice even light lavender with that trademark catchy lip.

Monday, June 02, 2008

A Sticky Situation

I saw this spider web glistening in the setting sun and had to snap a picture. There is something magical about sunrise and sunset in photography. Everything seems to just glow!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Wet Your Thistle?

Thistle with bumblebee. They didn't have bumblebees in Hawaii, just these big black bees (queen was orange) called carpenter bees. Thus, the first time I saw a striped bumblebee on the mainland it was quite a treat. I dare say it still is. This one was busy pollinating this noxious but beautiful thistle.