Category Archives: Flora

Out & About—Ramona Grasslands Preserve, Ramona CA

Out & About

Escrow has closed and the move has started. We shall be completely in our new home on August 1, 2017. Meanwhile….

I’m still cataloging pictures on my fine fine fine new super computer, and probably will be for many more months, perhaps even years. That’s how many pictures I have. In an effort to get caught up on cataloging my newer pictures, here is a collection of pictures from the Ramona Grasslands.

Baby and, presumably, mama ground squirrel
Mama and baby squirrel, Ramona Grasslands

Hippity-hopping Peter Cottontail
Hippity-hopping Peter Cottontail, Ramona Grasslands

Mourning Dove
I know many people consider mourning doves
to be up there with pigeons as pest birds but I like both.
Mourning dove, Ramona Grasslands

Unknown flower buds
Unknown flower buds, Ramona Grasslands

Magnificent home overlooking the grasslands
Magnificent home overlooking the Ramona Grasslands

Patch of unknown purple flowers
Patch of unknown purple flowers, Ramona Grasslands

Unknown bird
Unknown bird, Ramona Grasslands

Unknown flower
Unknown flower, Ramona Grasslands

Immature (probably Anna’s) hummingbird
Immature hummingbird, Ramona Grasslands

Public art
Public art, Ramona Grasslands

More unknown, but beautiful, flowers
Unknown purple flowers, Ramona Grasslands

Airplane taking off from nearby Ramona airport
Airplane taking off from Ramona airport near Ramona Grasslands

Relaxing tree and pond
Relaxing pond and tree, Ramona Grasslands

Patch of thistle
Such a beautiful flower, but like roses,
oh can those thorns cause pain!
Patch of thistle, Ramona Grasslands

Ramona Grasslands Preserve, Ramona CA
Rramona Grasslands Preserve, Ramona CA

Ground squirrel sentry
Ground squire sentry, Ramona Grasslands

Brahma
One of the best ways to maintain the health of an ecosystem
is to let Mother & Father Nature use it as they see fit.
The Brahma was the mascot of my high school,
Henrietta M. King High in Kingsville, Texas,
so I was pleasantly surprised to find a herd of Brahma
grazing and resting on the Ramona Grasslands Preserve.
Brahma, Ramona Grasslands Preserve, Ramona CA

Abandoned cattle chute
Abandoned cattle chute, Ramona Grasslands Preserve, Ramona CA

Unknown raptor
Unknown raptor, Ramona Grasslands

A different unknown raptor
Unknown raptor, Ramona Grasslands

Bird unable to read
No parking, Ramona Grasslands

Ramona Grasslands Preserve, Ramona CA
Rramona Grasslands Preserve, Ramona CA

Ramona Grasslands Preserve, Ramona CA
Rramona Grasslands Preserve, Ramona CA

The Ramona Grasslands Preserve consists of 3,521 acres in the Santa Maria Valley and includes a significant portion of the remaining undeveloped are of the Santa Maria Creek watershed. The watershed supports a mosaic of habitat types, including native and non-native grasslands, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, oak woodlands, Santa Maria Creek, its adjacent riparian area, and a diversity of unique vernal pools, vernal swales, and alkali playas.

Many rare animals make their homes in the grasslands, including Stephens’ kangaroo rat (oh how I want to get a picture of one of them!), fairy shrimp, purple stipa, blue-eyed grass, and woolly blue curls. There is a huge concentration of raptors in the area, no doubt because of all the small critters available for a raptor family reunion picnic.

There is a four-mile loop trail which is where all my pictures were taken, and I can highly recommend taking a leisurely stroll on the loop. Invariably, you’ll meet other walkers, bikers, and joggers.

Part of the mission for the Preserve is to provide passive recreation opportunities within the Preserve that further the development of the Coast to Crest Trail.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Friday Flower Fiesta (3-24-17)—Flowers, and more!

Friday Flower Fiesta

When I was in 7th grade (1966), my wise old grandmother bought me a microscope set. I had so much fun picking things out of the yard and then looking at the under the microscope. I think that was what enticed me into wanting to go into forestry research. I did get a degree in forestry but the research part never happened. I know microscopes are still for sale but I haven’t seen one for sale in a store in a couple of decades.

I find microscopic pictures to be quite interesting, such as this picture of my left eye:

Russel's left eye

If I had a microscope, microscopic pictures of flowers could easily be my favorite pictures. Since I don’t have a microscope, you’ll have to do with these “Flowers, and more!” pictures for today’s Friday Flower Fiesta. See if you can identify the “and more!” in the pictures.

Yellow wildflowers in San Diego

Flowers, and more!

Flowers, and more!

Flowers, and more!

Flowers, and more!

Flowers, and more!

Flowers, and more!

Flowers, and more!

Flowers, and more!

Flowers, and more!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Friday Flower Fiesta (3-10-17)—Spring is springing and the bees are going crazy

Friday Flower Fiesta

Spring usually begins around January 1 here in San Diego. It got delayed a couple of months this year due to the extraordinarily wet winter we have had.

My back balcony got 12″ of rain just in February; San Diego gets around 10.3″ each year, so it’s been pretty wet.

All the rain means the spring flower season, while late, should be spectacular, from ice plant along the coast and freeways to the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park to the desert wildflowers 100 miles inland in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

I have not been to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to see the wildflower bloom but all indications are that this year is turning out to be a “Super Bloom.” I’ll have to take off a day and go out there, even if I have to go all by my lonesome self.

Meanwhile, what’s going on locally:

Ice PlantIce plant path picture by Russel Ray Photos

Orange, yellow, and purple ice plant

Ice plant

Cherry Blossoms at Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa ParkCherry tree at Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park

Cherry blossoms

Garland chrysanthemum known locally as “crown daisy.”
This stuff will make you sneeze like you’ve never sneezed before.
Yellow wildflowers in San Diego

Yellow wildflowers in San Diego

Speaking of yellow, Oxalis is covering the hillsides
and the bees are going crazyFriday Flower Fiesta #9

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Friday Flower Fiesta (3-3-17)—The Flower Fields are now open

Friday Flower Fiesta

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch opened on March 1 and will remain open through May 14.

Carlsbad Flower Fields

Carlsbad Flower Fields

The Flower Fields comprises 50 acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus, a stunning flower that comes in many colors and can get up to 12 inches in diameter.

Ranunculus at the Carlsbad Flower Fields Ranunculus at the Carlsbad Flower Fields Ranunculus at the Carlsbad Flower Fields

Along with the main flower fields, there are smaller displays that vary each year. In the past I have seen cymbidium orchids, poinsettias (blooming!), a sweet pea maze that the children always enjoy, and a 300-feet by 170-feet American flag created out of red, white, and blue petunias.

Sweet pea maze at Carlsbad Flower Fields

Poinsettia

IMG_5466 orchid triplets faa stamp

The Flower Fields are open to the public seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Prices for adults, $14; seniors 60+, $13; children 3-10 yrs, $7; children 2 yrs & under, free. Season passes are available from $16 to $30. Along with the Sweet Pea Maze (which is almost always there) are other things to do once you get tired of of walking around. Of course, wagon rides through the 50 acres are available at $5 for adults and $3 for children 3-10 yrs. I think this is the only place I ever have been whee adults are defined as anyone age 11 and over.

Smoking and alcoholic beverages are not permitted onsite. Bicycles, hoverboards, and drones also are not permitted.

Map to the Carlsbad Flower Fields

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Friday Flower Fiesta (2-17-17)—Meet the Schitt Family

Friday Flower Fiesta

The aloe season is peaking right now, and with all the rain we have had this year, it’s turning into quite a stunning display.

The best places to see these magnificent plants is at the San Diego Zoo and in the median all along Camino del Sur in the Black Mountain Ranch and 4S Ranch areas.

Here are some pictures from this year’s display:

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

One of those above looked like a family, so I made a family reunion picture out of it.

Folks, meet the Schitt family:

The Schitt Family

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Out & About—Cajon Pass, Mormon Rocks, and the Blue Cut Fire

Out & About The World

My wise old grandmother was the epitome of efficiency. She never just went for a drive, or went for a walk, or went out just to go out. I’m the same way. I always have a purpose for going out, and I always try to get several things done in one long trip rather than making several short trips.

So when I’m out and about and run across something interesting that’s not on my list of things to do, I have three choices:

1. Stop and do it.
2. Ignore it.
3. Make a note of it and come back some other time.

I usually prefer to stop and do it since I’m rarely on a schedule, just trying to get things done on my list.

When I was out in the Mojave Desert last week on Highway 138 heading to Cajon Pass, I was zooming along at 69 mph when suddenly I came upon the Mormon Rocks. Look exactly like these:

Mormon Rocks

The mountains are rugged and the desert floor is flat, so to have those suddenly pop up in front of you is like something out of a Stephen King novel… “The Stand” or “The Dark Tower.”

The Mormon Rocks basically are at the intersection of Highway 138 and Interstate 15. According to Wikipedia, “In 1851, a group of Mormon settlers led by Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich traveled through the Cajon Pass in covered wagons on their way from Salt Lake City to southern California. The Mormon Rocks are where the Mormon trail and the railway merge.”

The Mormon Rocks are visual evidence of the San Andreas fault that runs through the area. They were so big and enormous that I couldn’t get them all in one picture, so I took 17 pictures and then used the Photomerge function in Photoshop to create two panoramas:

Mormon Rocks

Mormon Rocks

The vegetation in the pictures, coastal sage scrub and chaparral, is black and leafless because a wildfire roared through this area in August last year. Scrub and chaparral tend to be brittle, dry, and oily, perfect for wildfires.

Here in California we name our fires, kind of like the southeast names their hurricanes. We don’t consider fires to be people, though, so we usually name our fires after some landmark in the area where they started. This wildfire is known as the Blue Cut Fire since it started on the Blue Cut hiking trail.

The Blue Cut Fire was first reported on August 16, 2016, at 10:36 a.m. A red flag warning, also known as a fire weather warning, was in effect with temperatures near 100°F and winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour. By August 18, the fire had burned 37,000 acres of land and destroyed 105 homes and 213 other structures.

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Friday Flower Fiesta (12-16-2016)—Winter flowers in San Diego

Friday Flower Fiesta

Although Winter doesn’t begin for another few days, many of my northern friends are posting pictures of this really boring all-white landscaping. It’s enough to drive me to drinking margaritas. I thought today would be a perfect time to show them what real winter landscaping looks like.

Friday Flower Fiesta 12-19-14 Russel Ray Photos Friday Flower Fiesta 12-19-14 Russel Ray Photos
Red pelargonium, Friday Flower Fiesta, October 12, 2012 Friday Flower Fiesta Friday Flower Fiesta

Pansy

Bird of Paradise flower

Mother of thousands flower head from the side

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat