Archives

Climbing Joshua~

Look and spot the climber.

Here he is close up.

Spot this climber,

resting on the top.

Here she is, getting ready to come down.

This guy at the top is waiting for his climbing friends (do you see them),

to come up.

He climbs barefoot.

Here are all three without zoom. There is a fourth person at the bottom that you many be able to spot.

(Click to enlarge)

Cheers to you from the Joshua Tree National Park climbers~

Joshua~

fit the battle of Jericho,

and the walls,

came tumbling down.

These tumbled boulders,

are in Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California.

Despite Southern California’s endless severe drought,

the Joshua Tree’s are still surviving, although under threat.

The desert desperately needs water.

Only the rocks are unperturbed.

Cheers to you from elegantly jumbled Joshua Tree National Park~

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~

Whitewater Preserve~

Is a 2,851 acre protected nature and wildlife preserve,

located in the southern California desert and extending up into the adjacent San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains.

These photos were taken in late October.

Southern California is still in the worst drought in memory,

but the year round Whitewater River is still actively flowing in the desert, aided by earthquake faults trapping water run off from Southern California’s tallest mountain, the 11,500 foot Mt. Gorgonio.

This geological anomaly creates a natural oasis,

that sustains a host of wildlife including bear, bighorn sheep, and mountain lion,

as well as plants, palms and flowers, all in the midst of the baking hot desert.

Cheers to you from Whitewater Preserve~

For more information on the preserve see: https://wildlandsconservancy.org/preserves/whitewater

Escape~

To the desert, (click to enlarge)

following the clouds,

hoping to watch the rain,

bathe the sand.

The clouds came,

but not the rain.

La Quinta Resort built in 1926,

has seen many rainless days and nights.

Cheers to you from the cloudy desert~

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