Thursday, January 30, 2014

Happy Lunar New Year! 新年快樂 恭禧發財

Happy Asian/Lunar New year!   新年快樂  Wishing you health, happiness and good fortune in the year of the horse!  Gong Hey Fa Cai! 恭禧發財  (Gung Hee Fat Choy for you Cantonese).

Sunday, January 26, 2014

San Diego County Orchid Society Show Awards

American Orchid Society Awards from the San Diego County Orchid Society show today.

 Cattleya (Valentine x di Pozzi Tisiano) 'Feuerbach' HCC/AOS 77pts.

 Lc Purple Plume 'Rainbow Valley' CCM/AOS

Lc Purple Plume 'Rainbow Valley' CCM/AOS

Paphiopedilum rothschildianum

Paphiopedilum rothschildianum, on display at the Huntington Botanical Gardens.  The wild species is from high upon the slopes of Mt. Kinabalu in Borneo.  Select, line-bred specimens of this orchid species may sell for thousands of dollars, and are significantly fuller in shape and larger than the original wild species.  Seed-based propagation generally reduces pressure on wild populations of orchid species, particularly as horticultural varieties are improved through selective breeding to be both easier to grow in cultivation and also typically more attractive, as select traits are reinforced through line breeding.  This particular specimen is already several generations behind current breeding trends, as can be easily seen by web searching for photos of this species.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Finding Tranquility Along The Mission River (A.K.A. Bird Nerd Has Fun)

The weather has been unseasonably warm and dry for January, hitting the 70s and low 80s (F) in the daytime.  It's still been in the 40s and 50s at night, just to remind us that it is really January.  Clearly, however, there is no Polar Vortex here.  Perhaps the Polar Vortex pushed all the hot air over the Southwestern edge of the country.  

Fire danger warnings have been issued and the California Governor has also declared a drought emergency and water rationing for much of the state.  There is a huge fire raging outside of Los Angeles that forced over 3000 people to evacuate their homes.  

Still, the worries of the world seem far away when you walk in some of the many preserves here in San Diego.  These pictures are two of my favorites from today's walk in the Mission River preserve.  I hope they help you imagine the peace and tranquility of the moment.  While we didn't see any new birds (new to me anyhow), most of our favorites were there including northern shovelers, blue-winged teals, American wigeons, green-winged teals, cinnamon teals, ruddy ducks, buffleheads, northern pintails, egrets, little blue herons, great blue herons, avocets, curlews, and many more.  Days like these remind me why we live in San Diego.

 Anna's Hummingbird, Calypte anna, stretching his wings and tail (and looking a bit fierce).  This little guy let me get close enough to get some great shots with the telephoto, occasionally flitting from one branch to another, while I snapped more pictures than I care to admit to.

Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata, demonstrating that ducks really can walk on water.  The feathers on the head of a Northern shoveler glow an iridescent blue-green when the sun reflects off of them.  However, in the shadows, they look a dark black.  The trick, of course, is getting the sun in just the right angle for a photo.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

January American Orchid Society Awards - San Diego Judging Center

The following orchids were awarded at the January meeting of the San Diego Judging Center of the American Orchid Society.
 Cahuzacara Dogashima 'Strawberry' HCC 79pts
Cattleya trianiae 'Kimberly Burzell' HCC 75pts

Balboa Park, San Diego, CA

The Prado by night, Balboa Park, San Diego, California.  It was pretty quiet except for a few of us taking pictures and a pair of ducks gracefully swimming in the lily pond.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014