Monthly Archives: March 2012

Na na na na na na

Na na na na na na

Picture of the moment
PICTURE OF THE MOMENT

 

This morning I was scheduled to do a home inspection in Spring Valley, not too far from The Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College in Rancho San Diego:

The Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College

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My post late last night about the silkoak (I guess cutting some flowers for the kitchen table is out of the question) reminded me that the proteas should be blooming at The Garden. Sure enough, they were, and I’ll have lots of pictures in one of tomorrow’s posts.

As I was walking around The Garden taking Pictures (I took 356 in just a little over an hour), I felt like I was being watched. I looked to my left toward an open area and saw this:

I'm watching you

 

I walked on and found that guy sticking his tongue out at me:

Na na na na na na

 

Na na na na na na.

 

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Silkoak

I guess cutting some flowers for the kitchen table is out of the question

Picture of the moment
PICTURE OF THE MOMENT

 

This time of year I always see a large tree that is covered in gold:

Silkoak

 

That tree was on the property where I was doing a home inspection yesterday. It’s a silkoak (Grevillea robusta). The leaves look like an oak but it actually is not an oak. The Grevillea genus is in the Proteaceae family, which generally has pretty spectacular flowers looking something like this:

Protea

 

I never would have put the silkoak (also called “southern silky oak,” “silky-oak,” and “Australian silver-oak”) and proteas together without the help of my gardening library.

Grevillea robusta might lead you to believe that the tree is robust, and it is, being the largest plant in the Grevillea genus.

It is native to the east coast of Australia and is a very fast-growing evergreen tree. Its wood is resistant to root and was used to make furniture, fences, and window frames. Australia now has significant restrictions on harvesting the tree.

The flowers and fruit contain hydrogen cyanide, an extremely poisonous liquid known historically as Prussic acid. The tree also contains tridecylresorcinol which can cause severe cases of contact dermititis.

I guess cutting some flowers for the kitchen table is out of the question.

 

Silkoak

 

Silkoak

 

Silkoak

 

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Friday Flower Fiesta — #10 (March 30, 2012)

Friday Flower Fiesta

Throughout San Diego’s neighborhoods and along the many streets and freeways is a spectacular burst of color, particularly with the bougainvillea and ice plant. They are at their peak right now and typically last through about mid-May. Here’s a sampling from my exploits today where I was up in San Marcos at 8:00 a.m. and over in Spring Valley at 1:00 p.m., a distance of about 60 miles.

Seven bougainvilleas, one yellow daisy, and five ice plants:

Bougainvillea

 

Bougainvillea

 

Bougainvillea

 

Bougainvillea

 

Bougainvillea

 

Bougainvillea

 

Bougainvillea

 

Orange ice plant

 

Purple ice plant

 

Yellow ice plant

 

Ice plant

 

Ice plant

 

Ice plant

 

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A camera always attached to your hand can result in….

Picture of the moment
PICTURE OF THE MOMENT

 

If you always have your camera attached to your arm, sometimes you can be rewarded with a nice picture or two:

Anna's hummingbird

 

Anna's hummingbird

 

It hovered just a couple of feet from me for about 15 seconds and let me take a dozen pictures. Judging from its behavior, this is either a female or juvenile Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna). Considering that it hovered just feet from me for so long, I would guess a juvenile that doesn’t know any better yet. lol

Anna’s hummingbirds like to hover while they are gathering nectar or catching insects. If your garden is like mine and has lots of spider webs, you can watch them pluck spiders out of the webs. I’m still trying to get that picture.

These two pictures had a shutter speed of 1/640 second. Just how fast a shutter speed do I need to get rid of the motion blur in the wings?

 

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Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

“Butterfly Jungle” is now open at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park

Out & About San Diego

 

Butterfly Jungle, one of the most popular and fascinating exhibits at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park is now open through April 15, 2012.

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

 

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

 

 Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

 

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

 

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

 

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

 

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

 

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

 

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

 

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

 

The San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park is located at 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, about 45 miles northeast of downtown San Diego and east of Escondido on Highway 78:

San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

 

Although the Safari Park is open every day of the year, hours vary. Through April 15, hours are 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Based on experience, if you want to get in to see Butterfly Jungle, go at 9:00 a.m. They only allow a certain number of people in at a time so that butterflies on the ground aren’t crunched to death by the crowds.

For more information, visit online at San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park.

 

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Nest-building osprey

Mine will be bigger than yours….

Picture of the moment
PICTURE OF THE MOMENT

 

A couple of days ago I discovered an area where there are several nesting osprey pairs. I hung around for a couple of hours watching them in fascination…. and taking pictures, of course. If you missed the best of the pictures, it’s at Nest-building osprey. Flying pictures are at Fly softly and carry a big stick.

These are the last of the osprey pictures to show how large the osprey nest is.

The osprey in the center was the bird doing all the nest-building work in my two previous posts:

Nest-building ospreys

 

Here she is returning with the long stick shown in my previous two posts:

Nest-building osprey

 

What the beginnings of her nest looked like:

Beginnings of an osprey nest

 

Another nesting pair’s nest, and what she wants her nest to look like, except bigger:

Osprey nest

 

Lastly, not too far away, another nesting pair:

Nesting ospreys

 

I’ll be visiting this osprey area on a regular basis now that I know where it is. Maybe I’ll eventually be able to get some pictures of some young birds.

 

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Nicobar pigeon

If it’s missing, just send the police to my place….

Picture of the moment
PICTURE OF THE MOMENT

 

Zoos are known to exchange species with each other. For example, a few of our African elephants have taken up residence recently at the zoo in Tucson, Arizona.

When I go to the San Diego Zoo or the Safari Park, I’ve been known to spend a lot of time in the many aviaries. A couple of days ago I found a pigeon at the Safari Park. Of course, rock pigeons are regulars just about everywhere in San Diego and every city I’ve ever been in. The pigeon I found, however, is a Nicobar pigeon (Caloenas nicobarica):

Nicobar pigeon

 

The Nicobar pigeon is native to the Nicobar Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean. It is not a threatened species, and is the only living member of the Caloenas genus.

Nicobar pigeon

 

Nicobar pigeon

 

If it’s ever missing from the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park, just send the police to my place…

 

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