Archives

Sweet Bud~

Why doth thou,

stink so much?

This is the flower bud of a corpse plant, named for the rancid corpse like smell the flower emits when it blooms. The smell attracts carrion beetles who pollinate the flower. The flower itself is the tallest in the world and can grow up to twelve feet in the wild. You can get a sense of how huge the bud is by comparing it to the exit door in the first photo, and the child in the second. It grows only on the island of Sumatra and is extremely endangered with about 1000 of the plants left in the wild. The flower bud grows six inches a day, and when it blooms, the flower only lasts for 48 hours. There are two of these flowers at The San Diego Botanic Garden. Watch the first one bloom in a time lapse video below filmed by Botanic Garden staff, appropriately enough, on Halloween:

This plant reminds me of the Saturday Sci Fi movies I used to watch as a kid! The plant takes about ten years to bloom, and will only bloom every four-ten years thereafter. It’s corm can weigh 339 pounds! As the flower begins to bloom, the temperature of parts of the flower rise by up to 10 degrees Celsius in a process called thermogenesis. The second bud at the San Diego Botanic Garden is due to bloom around Thanksgiving. The garden stays open until midnight during the bloom and 5000 people queued to see the first flower! People drive from out of state to see it.

Notice the detail of the bud petals. It looks a bit like a giant Bok choy!

This is the base of the first flower that bloomed. The female flowers are the red ones on the bottom, and the males are the brown ones above. It is the male flowers that rise in temperature during the bloom.

Cheers to you from the soon to bloom, very tall, and very stinky corpse flower~

Holler Folk~

We have only the best sort of critters at The Holler, like this Western Scrub Jay,

and this always ready for his close up,

California thrasher.

Hummers are always humming at The Holler,

but for Bullocks orioles,

The Holler is just one of their many vacation homes.

The female,

and male grosbeaks, are also only seasonal visitors,

but baby house finches call Holler home.

Cheers to you from The Holler folk~

Southern California Flutterbyes~

Butterflies thrive in our warm climate.

Swallowtails,

Cloudless Sulfurs,

and Gulf Fritillaries are locals.

Swallowtails mating.

Queen.

But the Monarchs are the show stoppers now.

They are a threatened species, so seeing them is a special treat.

Cheers to you from from the Southern California Flutterbyes~

A New Species~

These gorgeous creatures,

are Grey Buckeye Butterflies,

a newly identified sub-species, found in south western North America. The species was first identified in 2016.

Grey Buckeyes are genetically and morphologically distinct and from Eastern Buckeye Butterflies.

All I know is they are beautiful and I love having them here!

Cheers to you from the beautiful Grey Buckeyes~

For More Information on the identification of this newly identified species see:

https://phys.org/news/2018-11-butterfly-species.html

Black Beauty~

Great Tailed Grackles are fun birds to watch.

You find them easily by following their loud and distinctive vocalizations.

They chatter, sing, whistle and shriek. (I included a link at the end of this post if you are interested in listening to the diversity of their songs and calls.)

But mostly they sing like this happy guy. Grackles are always at least as interested in you as you are in them!

They are devoted people watchers.

Cheers to you from the cheerful grackles~

Here is a sampling of their vocalizations:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Great-tailed_Grackle/sounds

Wings~

Hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world. Anna’s weigh about .14 ounce, but they can fly at speeds of up to 60 mph.

Unlike other birds they can fly backwards and upside down, and they are among the 1% of birds who can hover.

Hummers fly upright, not flat like other birds.

Their wings rotate 180 degrees, on their shoulder ball and socket joints,

and can beat up to 200 times per minute!

Despite their petite size, hummingbirds have mega-brains. Their brains constitute 4.2% of their body weight, greater than any other bird, and greater than human beings whose brains are about 2% of their body mass. Hummers remember how to fly thousands of miles, they know and remember which humans can be counted on to feed them, and they remember which flowers have the best nectar.

Cheers to you from the small but mighty hummer~

Seconds~

The most,

hummers get,

to rest,

all day.

Their daylight hours are spent packing on calories,

to survive their torporous nights.

Cheers to you from the resting hummers~

(Click the photos to enlarge if you would like to see more detail.)

Are You Down for a Series? #1 Flight~

Hummingbirds in flight are difficult photos for me.

You can see his tongue here,

and here.

The world has been so depressing for such a long time now,

that I am sharing some of what keeps me going.

And risk boring you with too many photos.

I am going to post a series of hummingbirds, macros are next.

Hummingbirds help me realize how hopeful the world still is.

I hope they help you too. Cheers to you from The Holler Hummers~

Mockers~

I’ve respected mockingbirds since I was a kid when I watched one pick up a snake that was threatening it’s nest and repeatedly dash it on the pavement from high in the sky.

My childhood friend rescued a baby mockingbird and it became her pet. It flew freely about the house and held it’s own with her family’s five cats.

They are feisty and assertive birds and they are talented musicians.

They don’t just mimic the sounds they hear, they also compose, morphing the timber,

and tune, to make their songs more melodic.

Mockingbirds are night singers in the spring and summertime at The Holler.

Juvenile and adult males without mates sing at night to attract females.

I love falling to sleep at night listening to their vocal repertoires.

Cheers to you from The Holler musicians~