Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dendrochilum latifolium

Here's a picture of Dendrochilum latifolium. The seller said it came from Fiji. However, a botantist and expert in Fijiian flora tells me there are no Dendrochilum in Fiji. So, I sent it out to Selby for an ID and Dendrochilum latifolium is what came back.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gone to the Dogs

Saw this jogger out with two weimarans while looking for parking at the Natural History Museum (maybe next post?). Grandpa used to have a weimaran. It was a big old goofy dog with sharp toe nails that used to step on our toes (accidentally of course) while begging for snacks. We were all little kids so the big dog seemed extra big back then. Brings back memories...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


We had an earthquake today. The skyscrapers were swaying around, like they were designed to do. Car was still there. Parking garage didn't collapse and best of all, the house was still there when I got home. Really, it was only a 5.4 but, given that it was way out near Chino (pretty far from San Diego), we still received a decent shaking plus a few aftershocks. According to the Southern Californa Earthquake Data Center: A moderate earthquake occurred at 11:42:15 AM (PDT) on Tuesday, July 29, 2008. The magnitude 5.4 event occurred 7 km (4 miles) SE of Diamond Bar, CA. The hypocentral depth is 14 km ( 8 miles). Wow! 8 miles underground. The aftershocks are still going on. Could it be leading up to something exciting? Probably not but we'll know tomorrow eh?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Little Blue Eyes

Pearse's Mudskipper, Periophthalmus novemradiatus. This little Southeast Asian Mudskipper has the most piercing blue eyes. Mudskippers can leave the water and breath air via the lining of their mouth and via water they carry in chambers attached to their gills.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Western Rueppell's Vulture

Western Rueppell's Vulture, Gyps rueppelli rueppelli, is from Africa ranging from Egypt through Tanzania in arid areas and dry grasslands. Perhaps a little better looking the the vulture you saw in the cartoons but generally an opportunistic scavenger.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Duckling Dining

This little duckling managed to get down a waterfall to munch algae in relative peace in this little pool. He and his Mom get an A for initiative!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


It's the gay ROTC visiting San Diego Pride from Chicago. They're a little more flamboyant than the regular ROTC! Still, they twirl a mean fake rifle and appeared to be having a lot of fun. Hopefully, the real ROTC got a chuckle out of it rather than taking offense at the fun.

Overall, Pride was a pretty festive, happy event. There was this older Hispanic woman, however, riding on one of the floats with a sad but determined look on her face and a sign that said, "Stop Homophobia in Mexico; I want my Son back." I was thus reminded how far we have come in America, in spite of all the remaining bigotry. That we would even have the political debate over constitutional amendments to prevent gay marriage, while a symptom of deep-rooted lingering bigotry, is also a sign of hope that people even dare to discuss gay marriage. We are reminded that, in countries like Iran, for example, being gay may be against the law and punishable by imprisonment or torture. Legalized discrimination against gays and lesbians is clearly still present in the U.S. but also, clearly, the country has moved a long ways towards tolerance.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Something Only a Mother Could Love (American Coot Chick)

American Coot, Fulica americana. Admittedly, they look nothing like their white beaked, solid black parents. I suppose they're kind of cute in a bald, frizzy sort of way. Certainly, nothing on the level of duckling cuteness. The parents are hyper aggressive in chasing away the other birds from the nest. I almost thought one of the parent coots might hop out and give me a nip but, at the last minute, it swam on by, apparently deciding against leaving the water to chase the tourists.

Monday, July 21, 2008

San Diego Pride Dog

Well okay, in spite of all the San Diego Pride festivities, this dog was having nothing of it! Better yet, he was having a nice nap in the shade right off of the parade route. What's a dog care about gays and lesbians except perhaps as more people to offer a good scratch/tummy rub and a snack? Maybe dogs have got it right! A nice nap, a good rub...not a bad life.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Northern Long-Toed Lapwing, Just Gotta Sing

Northern Long-Toed Lapwing, Vanellus crassirostris crassirostris. They are found from Sudan all the way to Rhodesia. This one is enjoying the good life at the Wild Animal Park and obviously felt that he had something to sing about. Could it just be that time of year? He's certainly an eye catching little beauty and a nice accent to a hot Summer day.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Pride

Happy San Diego Pride Day! That grin tells all. Love is love regardless of where you find it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Free Ride!

The lifeguard was giving these two gals a ride to shore. From the huge grins on their faces, they were enjoying themselves.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


This lady and her companion were driving slowly down the block filming the big houses outside of the Huntington Botanical Gardens. Papparazi? Videographer? Tourist? We'll probably never really know.

Meanwhile, I was greeted by the black screen of death when I booted. I was thinking I was a gonner...well, my pictures anyhow. They were theoretically backed up. I suspect, ironically, that it is the backup drive that is causing the problems (big seagate drive). In any case, it did finally boot but then the backup drive wasn't showing some files. I cycled power on the backup drive and, guess what, it all seemed to work again. Go figure. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pelicans Diving for Fish

There was a flock of Brown Pelicans diving off of the IB pier on Sunday. It's amazing that a bird that big can tuck in so tight and blaze out of the air like a bullet. It's really fun to watch. There was probably a huge school of bait fish below as the birds were hovering all around that patch of the ocean.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Stanhopea Spindleriana Blooming Now!

I popped into my greenhouse to see what was blooming and I could smell the fragrance of this Stanhopea Spindleriana from the door! Wow. Spectacular cluster of huge, waxy, yellow flowers! It is supposed to be a hybrid between tigrina and occulata but I don't see it. Too yellow and too few spots. Still, you never know...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Imperial Beach Sand Sculpture Competition

The Imperial Beach Sand Sculpture Competition was held Sunday morning. The beach was jam-packed with spectators looking at the many huge and creative sand sculptures. This sculpture had two faces looking at each other. Many others had a theme that made fun of the stratospheric rise in gas prices. Overall, most people seemed to think it was just a great excuse for a day at the beach.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Stunning Yucca!

This Yucca was in bloom at the botanical gardens the other day. Yucca are attractive, drought tolerant plants that take a long while to get to blooming size. However, when they bloom, it is quite a show! I'm not sure which species of yucca this is or, I suppose, that it is truly a yucca. Either way, it had a huge crowd of bees and was very spectacular.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Blue Dasher

Here's a picture of a Blue Dasher, Pachydiplax longipennis, up in Encinitas. Thanks again to Kathy Biggs for the ID (which I originally goofed up on).

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


This is another picture of one of the plants from American Orchid Society Judging. This is a hybrid containing Paphiopedilum philippinense, Paph. sanderianum and Paph praestans which come from the phillippines and Indonesia/Malaysia respectively. They have long petals that flutter in the breeze and oddly enough, seem to attract wasps for pollination. People originally thought the long petels were for ants to crawl up as pollinators but the plants often hang over precipices where the petals wave freely and the wasps seems unbearably attracted. Whatever floats their boat, eh?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

What a Lip!

This is a picture of Cattleya dowiana variety aurea. This one was brought into American Orchid Society judging on Monday. While it was used to attempt to breed yellow cattleya hybrids, one of it's most stunning qualities is that brilliant red lip with the vivid yellow veining (wow!). The species was discovered in 1850 and is in the background of many of today's cattleya hybrids.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Dragonflies are Back!

The dragonflies are back, buzzing and flitting across ponds and perching on rushes. This one is a Neon Skimmer, Libellula croceipennis. Much thanks to Kathy Biggs for the ID. I stared back and forth between a flame skimmer and a neon skimmer and finally figured out there is a difference in the window markings on the tip of their wings. I know, I know, get a life, right? In any case, there were a lot of thse little guys and they were putting on quite a show as they darted around and cavorted with each other.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Nodding Lilly

I found this lilly in bloom at the local botanical gardens. It seems a little late for lillies but wow, what a bloom!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Crystalline Iceplant

I found this Crystalline Iceplant, Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, growing along the sandstone cliffs of La Jolla. It has the coolest red bubbly looking seedpods. Apparently, it is introduced. The genus name is quite the tongue twister.

Happy Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July! Hope you get as much sunshine, spectacular fireworks, fine friends and great food as we did!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Terns of Endearment

There is something magical about seeing a huge flock of birds go by. This picture is of a flock of Royal terns that would fly a large loop around the beach and then return to this one patch of sand to socialize (and perhaps breed?). There are somewhat larger cousins to the Least Terns pictured a little while back.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Farmer's Market Band

There is a little band that plays folk music every week at the Hillcrest Farmer's Market. The kids love it and dance around like there's no tomorrow. That's the beauty of being a kid. You can have all sorts of fun and people still think you're being cute. Too bad people have to grow up, eh?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Beauty in an Elephant's Ear?

Well, not literally an ELEPHANT's ear. This is a picture of the large tropical vine that is one of many plants commonly referred to as an "elephant's ear." I think it's a species of Philodendron (philo - to love; dendro - trees; aka tree lover). In any case, after all those years in Hawaii, I never saw one bloom. They were huge, literally covering giant banyans but bore no flowers. So, here I am walking down the street and I see this giant, totally awesome flower off of this Elephant's Ear growing on a telephone pole! Go figure. The flower was worth the wait. They are HUGE and very dramatic.