Saturday, October 30, 2010

White Fronted Bee Eater

White Fronted Bee Eater. These beautiful birds life and nest in cliffside colonies and live on flying insects which they snatch out of the air. They are native to the savannahs of sub-equatorial Africa.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Terns in Flight

Terns in Flight, Tijuana Estuary Wildlife Preserve. I love watching the terns as they take off in huge, graceful flocks of white that zigzag through the sky! In the background, the air ripples in waves (in spite of it being a relatively cool day!).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Diving Pelican

California Brown Pelican diving for fish. It's really amazing watching these huge, lumbering birds fold in their wings and plummet from the heights!

How to Spot Dolphins

Pelicans, Gulls, Cormorants and Dolphins all mixed together! If you're looking for dolphins, look for the birds first. The birds gather to take advantage of the dolphins efforts at herding fish into a tight school, making an easy meal for the birds! The birds act as a beacon for you to spot the dolphins as the birds congregate in numbers and in mixed groups that would not otherwise occur. Then, if you watch the water, you will see occasional spouts and fins pop up. The same "bird trick" holds true for spotting schools of tuna or other large ocean carnivores that herd bait fish into tight schools or "bait balls." Where there are birds, there is typically something down below herding the bait fish.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Phalies: a grocery store phenomenon or a cultural icon?

Dtps. Chain Xen Pearl x Dtps. Zuma Pixie. Phalaenopsis and their close cousins, the Doritaenopsis (Dtps. = Phal. x Doritis), have become the darlings of the potted plant world. The flowers can last upwards of 3 months and they now come in a plethora of vivid colors. They are amazingly available for as little as $8 in bloom, a feat enabled by mass production and hybridization of these little jewels in Taiwan. The local commercial hybridization of these plants has largely succumbed to foreign imports.

The two biggest questions for these durable little plants are a) when to water? [water about once a week or when the media has dried out]; and b) how do I get it to bloom again? [a 10 degree F drop in temperature will normally precipitate a new bloom spike. The old spike may also be left on and will sometimes generate side branches.]

Monday, October 18, 2010

Orchids In Every Form, Size and Color

Paph. Stone Lovely x Paph Pacific Shamrock. Orchids come in all sorts of colors, shapes and sizes. This one is largely albino allowing the remaining green tones to be more easily seen (the pigment was there all along but covered by the darker pigments). While this particular plant is a hybrid, Paphiopedilums, as a genera, originally come from SouthEast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Burma, etc.), Southern China and India. The American relative, also called a lady's slipper, is called a Cyprepedium.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cirropetalum rothschildianum 'A-Dorabil'

Cirropetalum rothschildianum 'A-Dorabil' FCC/AOS. This dramatic species hails from India where it lives in moist, warm conditions. In cultivation, it grows best in plastic baskets where the media stays moist, but well aerated and not soggy.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ro Z's Sweet Art Studio

Ro Zinniger showing off one of her wonderful floral cakes at the Gourmet Expo. I had one of her cupcakes for desert at dinner. Yumm!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Phalaenopsis violacea var. alba

Phalaenopsis violacea variety alba. This used to be called violace Sumatra and bellina was called violacea Borneo; however, they've been elevated to different species. As with it's bigger cousin, Phalaenopsis bellina, Phal. violacea is sweetly fragrant although both the plants and the flowers are smaller. As with Phal. bellina, Phal. violacea is also hot growing.

Phalaenopsis bellina

Phalaenopsis bellina. These Phalaenopsis are originally from Borneo where they grow in hot, humid lowland forests. They are wonderfully fragrant and a joy to have in your collection. However, beware, they are a tad sensitive to cold, dank conditions so you'll either want to keep them indoors or in a warm greenhouse.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Blue Angels

The Blue Angels were visible from much of San Diego yesterday including this shot from Mission Gorge. The Blue Angels are the U. S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron.

According to the official Blue Angels Website, "The Blue Angels’ mission is to enhance Navy and Marine Corps recruiting efforts and to represent the naval service to the United States, its elected leadership and foreign nations. The Blue Angels serve as positive role models and goodwill ambassadors for the U. S. Navy and Marine Corps.

A Blue Angels flight demonstration exhibits choreographed refinements of skills possessed by all naval aviators. The Blue Angels’ C-130, affectionately known as Fat Albert, begins each demonstration by exhibiting its maximum performance capabilities during a ten-minute performance. Shortly thereafter, you will see the graceful aerobatic maneuvers of the four-jet Diamond Formation, in concert with the fast-paced, high-performance maneuvers of its two Solo pilots. Finally, the team illustrates the pinnacle of precision flying, performing maneuvers locked as a unit in the renowned, six-jet Delta Formation.

The team is stationed at Forrest Sherman Field, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, during the show season. However, the squadron spends January through March training pilots and new team members at Naval Air Facility El Centro, California.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Red-Shouldered Hawk Lift-off!

Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus, taking off from Eucalyptus tree after posing for photos for a a few minutes. Actually, there were two of these beautiful hawks fighting over that Eucalyptus tree, possibly because it overlooks the bird feeder (a.k.a. doves for dinner). While chasing each other, they flew low over the deck (maybe 10 feet from me) and then smacked head first into the neighbor's window (which hawks rarely do). He didn't look any worse for the wear and, ironically, as he flew off, the competing hawk returned to claim the tree! It made for great viewing.