One of MANY house finches I heard before turning a corner and seeing them.
Some #butterflies spotted the other day while hiking. A gulf fritillary (orange), some kind of blue, possibly a marine blue (tiny with brown wings and a blue body), and possibly a cloudless sulphur (yellow).
The blues are always hard to spot because they’re so small, and the sulphurs just don’t want to pause most of the time. But the fritillaries are more willing to stop, and there were SO MANY of them at the gardens on Monday.
Maybe a cloudless sulphur? Whatever it is, these yellow ones hardly ever pause long enough for me to take a picture.
There were so. many. fritillaries.
I went to the same park again today. I spotted a Fox Squirrel eating a pine cone in a tree elsewhere in the park, and a California Ground Squirrel standing guard outside the enclosure’s chain link fence.
Seriously, it. did. not. move. for several minutes while another ground squirrel ran inside the fence and waited, and I moved to a better angle for photos, until it abruptly turned around and ran through or under the fence.
A week later, all the weeds in the enclosure where I saw the hawk have been cleared out and the feral palm trees cut down.
That’s probably why I was able to get a clear view of some of the ground squirrels, looking out from their burrows and climbing around on the tree stumps.
At the same park where I spotted a Cooper’s Hawk and a ground squirrel a week or two ago, in a fenced-off area around a pair of electric transmission towers. Since then, all the weeds and feral palm trees have been cleared out, leaving nearly bare ground, but the squirrels are still there, climbing around on the stumps and burrowing.
I startled a ground squirrel while looking for something that was chirping in a fenced-off area of a park with a pair of transmission towers.
The squirrel hid, but this hawk – which I suspect was looking for the squirrel – flew out and perched on the fence for a few minutes before flying up to one of the lower struts on the nearer tower.
I heard repeated chirping from a fenced-off area of a park with a pair of transmission towers. As I got closer, I couldn’t spot a bird doing the chirping, but I did see a ground squirrel hiding under a small palm tree. I took a photo from a distance, then moved closer, at which point I startled the squirrel, which ran into one of the holes, and also a hawk, which flew from who knows where inside the fenced area to the edge of the fence. I was able to walk around and get some nice clear shots of the hawk, both as it sat on the fence and after it flew up onto one of the lower struts of the nearer tower.
Some #butterflies from an exhibit, including a banded orange, a postman, an two morphos (they had SO many morphos)…
one of which decided to land on my leg and stay there. They had made it clear that we were not to touch the butterflies so as not to damage the wings with skin oils, so when it still hadn’t left after a couple of minutes, I asked a staff member to remove it, and they coaxed it away with a sponge brush soaked in gatorade.
Some #florespondence from last weekend’s walk at the botanic gardens.
I didn’t write down what the yellow flower is, but iNat suggests it’s Senna didymobotrya, a cassia native to Africa.
The magnolia was a popular nectar spot: every single flower that I could see had multiple bees crawling around in it.
Sculpture at the garden. There are a half dozen pieces scattered around the grounds of this botanical garden. Pictured here are Fuller (as in Buckminster) by Doris Sung and Trace by Nancy Graves.
Fuller is near the entrance, so I see it most times I go walking there, but Trace is waaaaay on the other side.
Some birds spotted on a hike yesterday morning: a California Towhee (the mature one perched on top of a bush) and a bushtit (looking very birb-like). A whole lot of the latter were flying back and forth between the trees on either side of the path, barely stopping long enough for me to point the camera in the right direction.
Pelican Cove, just past the point with the lighthouse. Unlike other parts of the preserve, there’s a trail here that lets you hike down to the (rocky) beach. Of course then you have to hike back up again.
I don’t know what kind of rock this is or why it looks like layers of thin pastry (or maybe a sponge), but it certainly looked interesting!
Scenes from a seasonal marsh. Low areas collect water and form ponds during winter and spring, then it dries out over the summer. All the ground in these photos except on the near side of the logs in the last picture usually spends part of the year underwater.
The lowest part of the preseve is also where the most trees are (presumably because water has more time to soak into the ground there).
Two birds spotted while hiking the trails on top of the coastal bluffs southwest of Los Angeles. First a lesser goldfinch, which took me forever to actually catch on camera (there were 3 or 4 of them flitting around and not stopping for very long anywhere!) and a black phoebe that was perched a few yards from the trail.
It turns out the crows *had* been trying to scare off a hawk that had killed a pigeon and settled into the tree to eat it. At first I could only see the occasional feather raining down, until I moved to where I could see through a gap in the branches.
The hawk was huge. It’s probably one of the hawks that I see around regularly, but most of the time they’re up in the sky or perched high enough I don’t have any sense of their scale.
This was just on the corner of a block in the suburbs. People were still out watching (and the crows hadn’t returned) when I decided to continue on my walk.
Usually I see the red-tailed hawks out by the nearest school field or the greenbelt by the power transmission lines, and I only see the smaller cooper’s hawks along the residential streets.
This hawk had killed a pigeon(?) and brought it to this tree on the corner of a suburban block to eat it. People were standing out in their front yards watching it. Feathers were dropping as it ate.
It’s probably one of the same hawks I see in the area from time to time, but it looked huge. Though that could just be from it being a lot closer to the ground than I usually see them!
As soon as I stepped out the door for a walk this morning, I heard a lot of crows making a lot of noise down the street. They were perched on a telephone pole, flying up and swooping around like they were trying to scare off a hawk.
Of course I walked toward them to see what was going on.
By the time I reached the end of the block, the crows had given up and flown off. But I noticed people were out in their front yards looking up at a tree…
These crows were making a huge racket, some of them taking off, swooping and perching again, trying to scare off a hawk that had caught a pigeon and was eating it in a nearby tree. The hawk didn’t leave. The crows did.