I went on a hike today, up in the coastal hills…

I went on a hike today, up in the coastal hills near Los Angeles. I took a trail along a (dry) streambed up through a canyon, which is variously known as George F. Canyon or Georgeff Canyon. No one knows who George (or Georgeff) was – they just found it on an old map when they dedicated the nature preserve.

There was SO. MUCH. POISON OAK. You really do not want to stray much from the path here!

#nature #plants #florespondence #trees #hiking #PoisonOak

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People are hanging out here now.

Follow-up to Outdoor mall extension

Since pandemic restrictions lifted last year, the mall has added a few restaurants and shops in and around the courtyard, more chairs and tables, a toy kiosk, and WiFi. People are hanging out here now. I’d certainly rather set up outside than at one of the seating areas inside the mall. I’ve spent a couple of mornings and afternoons here with my work laptop for a change of scenery without going all the way to the office.

Reflections of Manhattan Village

The biting flies are a pain, though. Literally.

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Some butterflies spotted the other day while hiking.

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.

#nature #photo #butterfly

A yellow butterfly with a few dark spots perched on a small red flower with its wings closed.

A bright orange butterfly with narrow black stripes and a few white spots outlined in black, perched on wide green leaves with its wings open.

A very small butterfly with brown wings and blue body perched on a plant with crinkly green leaves.

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Maybe a cloudless sulphur? Whatever it is, these yellow ones hardly ever pause long enough for me to take a picture.

Sulphur? on iNaturalist

There were so. many. fritillaries.

Fritillary on iNaturalist (tighter crop)

Blue on iNaturalist (tighter crop)

Hungry Squirrel / Guard Duty

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.

#squirrel #photo #nature

A brownish squirrel with a bushy tail perched on a pine tree branch and eating a cone.

A light gray squirrel with a mottled coat standing up in the grass in front of a fence, looking into the distance.

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Fox squirrel on iNaturalist
Ground Squirrel on iNaturalist
Another Ground Squirrel on iNaturalist

California ground squirrels looking out from their burrows and climbing around on the tree stumps.

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.

#squirrel #nature #photo

A California Ground Squirrel, light brown and gray, poking its head out of a burrow surrounded by dried grass.

Two ground squirrels, light brown and gray, with mottled patterns on their backs and narrow tails, sitting on a palm tree stump.

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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.

Single squrirel on iNaturalist
Pair of squirrels on iNaturalist

Some florespondence from last weekend’s walk at the botanic gardens.

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.

#flowers #plants #nature #photo

Stalk with bright yellow flowers against a blurry background of green shrubs with red flowers, trees and sky.

Closeup of a large white bowl-like flower with at least three bees in it, and broad green leaves.

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Some birds spotted on a hike yesterday morning: a California Towhee and…

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.

#photo #birds #nature #birb

A smallish brown bird, sparrow-like, with a short narrow sharp beak, perched on top of some plant with very small leaves, against a mottled green background.

A small round gray and white bird with a very short, narrow beak, perched on a twig with oblong leaves and clusters of some sort of small red fruit.

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Towhee on iNaturalist (alt)
Bushtit on iNaturalist (crop)

Pelican Cove, just past the point with the lighthouse

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!

#cove #ocean #nature #california #rocks #photo #gloomy

Jagged rocks out in the smooth ocean, not far from a rocky cliff, on a gloomy day.

A cove on a gloomy day with rocky shore, high bluffs, and a few rocks out in the sea.

A large rock at the top of a cliff, looking down to the ocean, that looks like a stack of really thin layers that have been scrunched and folded and eroded differently.

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Two birds spotted while hiking the trails on top of the coastal bluffs

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.

#birds #photo #nature #finch #phoebe

A small bird, black on top and yellow below, with a short thick beak, perched among the stems of a plant with spiky seed pods and yellow flowers.
Lesser Goldfinch on iNaturalist

A small black bird with a white belly and a short, narrow beak, perched on top of a bush in front of a blurry brown and green background.
Black Phoebe on iNaturalist

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A swallowtail butterfly, photographed using the classic technique of desperately following it with the camera…

A #swallowtail #butterfly, photographed using the classic technique of desperately following it with the camera and clicking the shutter when I hope it’s pointing vaguely in the right direction to at least catch it in frame and it probably won’t be in focus anyway but with luck it’ll at least be identifiable and…hey, not bad!

(Otherwise I’ve basically given up trying to actually aim at butterflies when they’re flying.)

#photo

A butterfly with yellow wings outstretched, black along its body and wing edges and stripes , seen backlit against the sky and leafy tree branches.

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Western Tiger Swallowtail

Common Swallowtails

On iNaturalist

A hummingbird at a local park. Most of the time they don’t stay in one place…

A #hummingbird at a local park. Most of the time they don’t stay in one place long enough for me to even focus on them, even when they perch like this one.

#bird #photo

A tiny green-white-and-back hummingbird perched on a twig, blue sky and other twigs in the background.

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Of course, the reason that it was staying in one spot was that it was grooming, so I had quite a few shots that looked…less impressive.

#fotofails #birb

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Cross-posted on K2R
On iNaturalist
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