Archives

Feathered Pairs~

Big Gulp Gull,

swallows his catch, Coeur d’Alene Idaho.

Bald Eagle,

and juvenile, catch grizzly salmon scraps, British Columbia Canada.

Saddle Bill Stork catches a cat,

Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Red Tailed Hawk,

loves rare water, Southern California.

A pair of Yellow Legs multiply in reflection, Salton Sea, California.

Greater Flamingos tango, Tagus Estuary Portugal.

Mated White Storks greet on their nest, Alsace France.

Cheers to you from your feathered friends~

What a Load Of Bull~

Is it just me? Or does he look irritable to you?

Would you cross his pasture?

The timid California Quail,

seemed to like hanging around him.

Maybe she thinks no one will mess with her, when he’s around.

But the roadrunner stayed clearly on the other side of the fence.

He’d rather deal with a confusing human like me,

than a bunch of bull like him!

Cheers to you from California’s clever critters~

Formation Flying~

Pelis-can

fly in formation.

The birds in the back coast,

on the updraft from the birds in the front.

They swap positions regularly,

so no one gets tired.

Cooperation is a powerful force,

and much more fun than fighting.

Cheers to you from the pelis who can cooperate~

Chubs~

This is how I like to see seals,

curious, chubby and healthy.

This is how I don’t like to see sea lions, suffering from human carelessness.

In one afternoon, in the same area, I photographed the one sea lion with a plastic ring painfully constricting his neck, and another seal (above) with the scars from a similar previous encounter. We notified a park ranger and she assured us that animal rescue had been notified and would come help the ensnared sea lion. This is what happens to discarded human plastic. It ends up in the ocean and injures innocent animals. Seeing two animals on one beach on the same day, with the same problem, gives us an idea of how often this happens. Most of the time the animals are not found or saved.

Seals are curious and peaceful creatures. They, unlike sea lions, do not have ear flaps, and cannot lift themselves up on their front flippers. The move about on land in a slug like fashion, but in the water they flit about fast and skillfully like birds.

These are a group of sea lions with a very handsome blondie. You can see their small ear flaps and the distinctive way they can sit up on their front flippers. They look quite regal when they do this. Once, a long time ago, I saw a sea lion, on this same beach, up on top of a rock face, twenty-five or more feet above the sand, far away from the water. Storm surge from the day before must have deposited him there. He looked quite kingly, surveying his realm! I have no idea how he got down, but he wasn’t there the next day.

Seals on the other hand tend to look you in the eye with beautiful, beseeching looks!

They are winsome,

and quite chubby when healthy. You can see the ear opening here, with no ear flap.

Cheers to you from the innocent seals and sea lions from La Jolla California~

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~

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

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~