Monday, October 31, 2011

Costa's Hummingbird

Costa's Hummingbird (Female), Calypte costae. These tiny hummingbirds (about 3.5 inches long) are found throughout the Arid Southwestern U.S. and into the Baja Peninsula. The males have a bright violet mask.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sparkling Violet-Ear Hummingbird

Sparkling Violet-Ear Hummingbird, Colibri coruscans. These beautiful hummingbirds are found from Venezuela and Columbia (the birthplace of hummingbirds) through northwestern Argentina.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blue Butterfly Bush or Clerodendrum ugandense

Blue Butterfly Bush, Clerodendrum ugandense. This is a small to medium sized, warmer growing (zone 8) shrub. The flowers apparently attract butterflies as well. Quite the charmer.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Kissing in the Moonlight

Statue of Sailor and nurse kissing in the moonlight with the USS Midway museum in the background. Taken with ambient lighting.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp, Polistes species, in Jimson Weed. There were several Paper wasps prowling around the Jimson Weed flowers. Adult paper wasps are nector feeders, hence their presence in the Jimson week flowers.

However, adult paper wasps will sting soft bodied insects, such as caterpillars, to paralyze them. The wasps then carry the soft bodied insect or caterpillar to their nest for their larvae/grubs to feed on as they are developing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird, Calypte anna (juvenile), in the back yard. These are found all up and down the Pacific coast of the United States and down into the Northern Baja Peninsula. You can differentiate them from Costa's Hummingbird based on the eye being below the green patch on the head rather than within the green patch as with Costa's Hummingbird.

Monday, October 24, 2011

AOS Awards, Pac South

(Catamodes Painted Desert X Catasetum Brent's Black Hawk) AM/AOS. In ambient light, this flower is almost black but if you light it up, it's a glossy deep red. Congratulations Brent!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Great Purple Hairstreak

Great Purple Hairstreak (male), Atlides halesus, Mission Trails Park, San Diego, California. Note that the males have the blue streaks on the outside of the wing while the females do not. These are found from California across the Southern states to Florida and then down into Mexico. They're hard to spot in a tree or bush but well worth the trouble. The wings are typically kept closed when not in flight. However, if you're lucky enough to see them open, they are an irridescent blue. Also, the wings roll out at the rear exposing wing patterns, which, when viewed from the rear look like eyes and antenna, likely to confuse potential predators.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Prarie Falcon

Prarie Falcon, Falco mexicanus, Mission Trails Park, San Diego, California. I saw this little guy sitting high up in a sycamore tree and, with that big old 500mm lens, here we are.

Monday, October 17, 2011

American Avocets, Winter Plumage

American Avocets, Recurvirostra americana (so named for it's upturned beak -- aka recurved rostrum), resting on an exposed sand bar in the middle of the Mission River. Yes, the Avocets are back sporting their ever so stylish black and white formal Winter plumage! I had been to the Mission River for years without ever seeing an avocet until I realized that the little guys hang out in the shallows in the MIDDLE of the river, far from feral cats and stray dogs. Now that I know where to look, they're readily visible, albeit with a huge lens or perhaps binoculars.

I also puzzled for quite a while over the funky upturned beaks, wondering how they manage to eat anything at all with such beaks. However, it became fairly obvious upon watching them feed. They sweep those upturned beaks in shallow water over the mud and sand bottom kind of like a scythe cutting through wheat. The beaks scare up small water bugs and crustaceans which, as they are trying to flee the disturbance, become the Avocet's next meal.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Barkeria Lindleyana

Barkeria lindleyana semi-alba. A forgiving Central American orchid species that will grow hanging from a wire with no media whatsoever, given a little humidity and some decent water. These vary from bright lavender to pure white.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Unknown Dendrochilum

Dendrochilum species, unknown. Fascinating little Dendrochilum species with a compact growth habit and the cutest little dog biscuit shaped lip.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Honey bee on Broom Baccharis

Honey bee (Apis), her back legs full of pollen, on Broom Baccharis (Baccharis sarothroides - Asteraceae). Broom Baccharis is native to a riparian habitat and blooms from June through October. It is in the sunflower family (Asteraceae).

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret, Egretta thula, Mission River Preserve, San Diego, California. We went to the preserve to see if the ducks had made it this far South yet. They had not. There was not a duck to be seen anywhere. There were, however, lots of terns, egrets, herons and an early flock of avocets.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Rth. Jungle Jumbalaya 'Arnilicious' HCC/AOS

Rth. Jungle Jumbalaya 'Arnilicious' HCC/AOS 77pts, from tonights Pacific South American Orchid Society Judging at Balboa Park, San Diego, California.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Anguloa eburnea

Anguloa eburnea. Anguloa are often called the tulip orchids because of their resemblance, at a distance anyhow, to a tulip. Anguloa eburnea is a native of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru where it is found at around 4500 to 7500 ft. This species is notably distinguished from Anguloa uniflora, which it is often mislabled as, by eburnea's diamond shaped, elongated midlobe (on the lip).

Dendrobium cuthbertsonii var semi alba

Dendrobium cuthbertsonii var semi alba.

Dendrobium cuthbertsonii bicolor form

Dendrobium cuthbertsonii is native to New Guinea where it grows on mossy rocks along streams at high altitude (3k-10k ft).

Saturday, October 01, 2011

C. Caudebec 'Carmela' AM/AOS

C. Caudebec 'Carmela' AM/AOS. This magnificent plant with huge upright stems of waxy, vibrantly spotted flowers was upgraded to an Award of Merit at the San Diego Botanical Gardens Show.