Friday, April 30, 2010

Baby Elephants Hugging?

Two baby elephants at play. The little one kept trying to get up on the bigger one's head! The bigger one very patiently endured the abuse... They spent a lot of time following each other around and seemed to be really attached to each other.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Enjoying San Diego

A couple out enjoying the San Diego outdoors, Mission Bay. The couple that jet skis together stays together, right?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sealion or Seal?

California Sea Lion pup, Zalophus californianus. So, how do you tell sea lion from seal? Sea lions have ears and walk on their flippers like awkward feet. Their flippers will angle downwards and support their weight. Seans rear flippers go straight back and their front flippers off to the side. Hence seals tend to undulate along the sand/ground rather than use their flippers for land propuslsion. Oh, and for you snugglers out there, sea lions like to snuggle one atop the other while seals almost always lie alone even in the midst of a colony.

Exercise for tomorrow: just for fun, go out, take a stroll and turn off all the labels and pretend like you're seeing everything for the first time. Touch the leaves and feel their coolness and texture. Feel the roughness of tree bark. Run your bar toes through the grass. Stop and look at the cool colors and shapes of bugs and lizards. Look at leaves and flowers really close and see the amazing structures that make them work. It's really fun to do every now and then just to remind you of the wonderful things around us that we normally zip by and take for granted.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Is Nature Wilder Than Fiction?

Fig Leaf with backlighting. I love the way the light plays along the veins like pulses of light coursing along an information highway. Who's to say fig leaves aren't exciting? ;-P

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Octopus Sunday

Octopus, Honolulu, Hawaii. This little octopus is putting up quite a stare.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Great Eggfly Butterfly

Great Eggfly, Hypolimnas bolina. These are found in Southern Asia, Australia, Japan and New Zealand. I suspect they received the rather unflattering name for their large egg-shaped spots on the wings. They are found in lightly wooded deciduous habitat.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Random Flowers from Mom's

Red flowers at Mom's. Mom's had this little shrub for years. I've no idea what it is but it is always blooming for Christmas and makes quite a show of it. The yard is still a little botanical garden after all these years.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Weedy Sea Dragon

Weedy Sea Dragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus. These little guys have evolved to match the seaweed they live in. They are native to the Southern reefs of Australia.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Eye Spot

Eye spot on the wing of a butterfly! Ever notice the tiny, reflective scales that make up a butterfly wing? These are arranged to look like a large eye to scare off hungry birds.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wildflowers in the Back Yard

Chinese Houses, Collinsia heterophylla.

Wildflowers in the back yard.

The wildflowers really burst into bloom this year. This is a North sloping canyon so it blooms a little later than out on the flatlands but wow, what a display! There are poppies, Chinese Houses, California Bluebells, Lupine, Daisies, Monkeyflower, etc... It's really fun. There was even an albino or two.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Discus, Symphysodon species. These are native to the Amazon river basin where there are three different species. They are social in nature and occur in large schools. They lay their eggs on flat substrate, typically leaves or pieces of rock, which they guard and fan assiduously. When the larvae/babies hatch, they live off of a slime secretion on their parents bodies, apparently from a few days to up to two weeks, before they transition to live food. These, however, are captive line bred and likely hybrids.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

On Gossamer Wings

On Gossamer Wings
When you feel a little breeze,
or notice a tickle, or need to sneeze
or find your things are rearranged
or something seems a little strange
Look very closely and you might see
sparkly dust, or a buzzing bee:
Behold! a fairy with gossamer wings
has come to show you wondrous things!

~William Allingham~

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Meare's Glacier

Meare's Glacier, Alaska. The ice really is blue and huge chunks like that make a nice wave in the water (kind of like a little tidal wave) when they hit! Pretty fun!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ah, What to Post Today? Maybe a...

Turtle! I don't know what kind of turtle he was and silly me didn't photograph the name so he's just turtle. This one was at the Osaka Aquarium.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Whale Shark

Whale Shark, Rhincodon typus. These sharks are HUGE (some over 47,000 lbs.) but gentle. They are filter feeders, spending their days gliding through the water filtering out food. They are reputed to live upwards of 70 years of age.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hawaii from the Air

Hawaii from the Air. Can you identify the islands? Hint: Two of the main islands are missing.

Heart and Seoul

Seoul, Korea on an overcast day. Seoul seems to go on forever. Imagine New York or Boston but horizon to horizon...with the same annoying traffic and all kinds of exotic sights and things to try out.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Jumping off a Bridge

Young man jumping off of a bridge, Iao, Maui. I think he overheard me say that it was way too shallow to be safe and that just goaded him on even more. Most of us have done something crazy along the way... This young man, luckily, proved me wrong and came out of the cold mountain water without a scratch.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Statue in Sao Paulo

Statue in Sao Paulo. I shot this picture out the taxi window.

So I went hunting on the Internet to see if I could figure out what the statue stood for. Best I could find was, "Famous statue right next to Ibirapuera Park. The “Central Park” of São Paulo. The statue is supposed to represent the conquistadors that settled Brazil.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Double Crested Cormorants

Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auritus, La Jolla, California. These fish-eating beauties are the the most pleasantly fragrant guests to have in the neighborhood but they certainly make a beautiful display against the whitened sandstone cliffs or as they skim across the water. It is, as you probably guessed, breeding season.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Playful Kiss?

Two baby Red River Hogs (Potamochoerus porcus) at play. These range from Gambia through South Camaroon where they live in dense vegetation.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Nap Time

California Sea lions (Zalophus californianus) taking a nap. California sea lions are wonderfully communal and really seems to love a great group snuggle.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

Thoas Swallowtail, Papilio thoas. These are native to Costa Rica; shown here on butterfly bush.

Beautiful day out here with clear skies and a nice cool breeze. Kind of a disarming lead in to a pretty hefty 7.2 earthquake out in Mexicali. It was the longest (perhaps 30 seconds?) and the strongest quake I've been in so far. The house was shaking quite a bit and I was holding onto the cabinet to keep things from falling off the top. Normally, by the time you feel them, they're over but this one actually went long enough that you could have walked out of the house. Hopefully, that's it for a while. Surprisingly few things managed to tumble from the shelves but overall, it looks like everything is fine. The quakes over 8 must be something pretty fierce! They say Southern California is overdue. We shall see...

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Oden Lantern

I bought this Oden Lantern in Tokyo many years ago (just the paper lantern, no stand, no light). I thought it was rather expensive at some $15 for paper lantern. I ended up coughing up a bunch more for a wrought iron hanger w/ light bulb at crate and barrel so I could actually use it. It is so ironic.

To do this posting, I went searching to see if I could find out what the lantern actually said (having thought it had something to do with Obon festival all these years). Well, I found the same lantern on the Internet selling for $99. Kind of makes you think someone is raking in some money here. In any case, this one is an Oden lantern that is hung outside the door of Oden restaurants/shops (think miso-ish soup with goodies like octopus and veggies in it...). It's kind of ironic.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Ocotillo Morte

A huge old ocotillo, toppled from age or perhaps from lack of water in the last dry spell, lies in a field of blooms, slowly decaying and nourishing the earth from which it sprang.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Crimson Sunflower

Sunflower, Rolando Street Fair. Ever notice that a Sunflower is really a composite flower with hundreds of separate little flowers, each feeding into one little seed?