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Daryl

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The 3 B's ..Birds, Butterflies,  ..and well dressed Bees.

A bit surprised to see both of these this late in the year. A testament to a very wet summer/ warm fall / start of winter :

Striped Sweat Bee sp. ( Genus Agapostemon )

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American Snout? ( Libytheana carinenta ) Yep, they're still about, Even 2 days from Christmas.
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Male Anna's Hummingbird(s), ( Calypte anna ) enjoying both  feeders.  Not sure what he'll do when there are 3 or 4 more feeders to guard, and plenty of nectar rich plants in both yards next year..
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2 hours ago, Silas_Sancona said:

le Anna's Hummingbird(s), ( Calypte anna ) enjoying both  feeders.  Not sure what he'll do when there are 3 or 4 more feeders to guard, and plenty of nectar rich plants in both yards next year..

What are you feeding them? Or is that tinted glass? 

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12 minutes ago, RyManUtah said:

What are you feeding them? Or is that tinted glass? 

1 cup sugar to 4 cups water.. Boil the water, add sugar, then let cool before adding to the feeders.. Colors in the glass are reflections from the sky, other things in the background.  Have one feeder hanging on the east side of the Ficus out back.  Other is under the patio ( faces north ).

***A note for anyone who still might use it, DON'T use the red colored stuff.. Very bad for them.

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My garden at work... not the home garden, but visitors this afternoon all the same.  The Flamingo didn't have a band, so it wasn't visiting from the San Diego Zoo or Sea World.  Not sure where it came from in fact, but they do visit from time to time.

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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4 minutes ago, Tracy said:

My garden at work... not the home garden, but visitors this afternoon all the same.  The Flamingo didn't have a band, so it wasn't visiting from the San Diego Zoo or Sea World.  Not sure where it came from in fact, but they do visit from time to time.

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:greenthumb: The " San Diego Flamingo " has been in the area for the last couple years.. Thought they' were still trying to figure out where it came from ..Or maybe gave up, lol.  There's another that has been hanging out in San Francisco Bay as well.

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3 minutes ago, Silas_Sancona said:

:greenthumb: The " San Diego Flamingo " has been in the area for the last couple years..

This one has been around for a while, but we have had as many as 3 show up in my 30 plus years down here.  We have never been able to determine where they came from, nor where they go when they leave.  They seem attracted to our hyper saline ponds inside the system.  This was actually on the flats just outside our ponds, in the bay today.

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yard Birds..

Northern Mockingbird.. This one is quite fearless / tolerant of people ..and a curious Basenji.. Really, it seems more curious about the dog, and what i'm doing in the yard than the other way around..

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Dominant male Anna's Hummingbird hanging out in a newly chosen favorite spot, a half dormant Coulteria  ** Formally Caesalpinia **  platyloba a couple feet below the feeder hanging in the Ficus.. when not chasing off another male  ..and some other hummers from the feeders, especially this one.  

Starting to wonder if this might be the same hummingbird that was hanging out in one of my Bursera last year as a juvenile in the old yard.. Very approachable and barely flinches when i use the flash to get better pictures.  We'll see how close he'll allow me to get. Goal is on my hand / fingers.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Amerila rubipes moth, a north Australian species. First time I've seen one in my yard. A bit more research and it turns out I have a self sown ( bird dropped seed ? ) plant Gymnanthera oblonga vine that the caterpillars feed on. They also feed upon the introduced weed species Rubber Vine from Madagascar ( Cryptostegia grandiflora )

https://bie.ala.org.au/species/urn:lsid:biodiversity.org.au:afd.taxon:9a85c617-f4a4-491d-b257-a06bd616c859

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"...The biggest Hummingbird i think i have ever seen!! " 

Nah, ..just the resident Northern Mockingbird who has decided the hummingbird feeder in the Ficus is an easy, sugar filled snack.  Some House finches and Flickers ( a sp. of Woodpecker ) will also sip from Hummingbird feeders here as well.  Earlier, when i took down both feeders to clean / refill, could hold the feeder preferred by them ( the Hummingbirds ) and one came to feed from it, after hovering for a few seconds, trying to figure out why the heck it was hanging from my hand, vs. attached to the tree.


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As soon as it was re hung, the Mockingbird was back..  Hasn't tried to feed from the feeder up on the porch - yet -..

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is a Motmot . He is in full breeding plumage and for several years now he has been entering my laundry room in search of nesting burrows.

In Mayan folklore the Motmot had its tail cut as punishment for telling humans about their mortality.

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El Oasis - beach garden, distinct wet/dry season ,year round 20-38c

Las Heliconias - jungle garden ,800m elevation,150+ inches rainfall, year round 15-28c

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Good sign that winter is pretty much in the bag when the Ornate Tree Lizards start coming out.. Lots of Carpenter Bees emerging atm as well.

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Inter-species struggles

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The green Madagascar gold dust geckos seem to have sur planted the smaller brown geckos of late. They can become rather tame and boldly come out to lick any leftover fruit juices. They also inhabit vehicles and are daredevils out on the road. 

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Kim Cyr

Between the beach and the bays, Point Loma, San Diego, California USA
and on a 300 year-old lava flow, Pahoa, Hawaii, 1/4 mile from the 2018 flow
All characters  in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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Anecdotally, the appearence of dragonflies is a harbinger of the end of the wet season in Darwin...... so didn't wanna see these guys in the back yard yesterday....:D
 

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Not the best picture, but another sure sign of Spring showing up at the hummingbird feeder yesterday..

Not 100% sure but could be a female Wilson's Warbler.. Isn't the typical Audubon's which hang around the area through the winter.  Ground Doves are also active again.. Not that they completely disappear... just kind of go about their business more out of sight during the coolest part of winter then during the rest of the year.

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On 1/26/2022 at 8:40 PM, Silas_Sancona said:

"...The biggest Hummingbird i think i have ever seen!! " 

Nah, ..just the resident Northern Mockingbird who has decided the hummingbird feeder in the Ficus is an easy, sugar filled snack.  Some House finches and Flickers ( a sp. of Woodpecker ) will also sip from Hummingbird feeders here as well.  Earlier, when i took down both feeders to clean / refill, could hold the feeder preferred by them ( the Hummingbirds ) and one came to feed from it, after hovering for a few seconds, trying to figure out why the heck it was hanging from my hand, vs. attached to the tree.


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As soon as it was re hung, the Mockingbird was back..  Hasn't tried to feed from the feeder up on the porch - yet -..

Interestingly, the mockingbirds have disappeared from my area over the last year. 

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29 minutes ago, amh said:

Interestingly, the mockingbirds have disappeared from my area over the last year. 

odd.. wonder why.

The one that has been sticking close to the yard/ feeder in the Ficus hasn't been hanging out quite as much over the last week or so, spending pretty much all of it's time up in one of the trees singing, or wandering around the rest of the neighborhood. When i was working on the sprinklers out there, it would sit on something and wait for me to turn them on to test, then perch on something else ..or the ground where it would get sprayed.

Soon enough they'll start calling at all hours. Kind of eerie walking out into the back yard at 11 or 12 at night, and hear one sing it's heart out well hidden in the nearly pitch black canopy of the  big Mesquite at the old house ..Kept thinking it would be a great opening to some slasher / sci - fi movie, lol.

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A new ( at least in my garden ) butterfly species spied in my back yard.  Blue Argus butterfly ( (Junonia orithya albicincta)(Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) . more likely to be seen out in the dry woodlands than in the suburbs.
 

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Hate Spiders?  ..Well, if you're back east, get ready for them to " fall from the Sky ".. 

https://www.syfy.com/syfy-wire/joro-giant-spider-to-invade-eastern-us-this-summer

A bit of an overly dramatic headline, but yes ..as any other organism does once it finds a happy new home, and starts reproducing ..in it's new found home,   the kiddos spread out to conquer new territory.  With Spiders, that involves the kiddos " ballooning " in the wind. ( Adult spiders can also parachute to new places as well ) All spiders do this, so the Joro using this method of dispersal is nothing new.

As big as these are, they are harmless to people.. and kind of pretty too. yes, they can bite ( most spiders are capable of biting people ) but they are not venomous. The red or orange colors on the belly means nothing, unlike Black or Brown Widow Spiders/ other related species in that family found in Australia / Africa.

If they are as tough as suggested, withstanding such environmental stressors as heat, & freezing cold, they'll eventually show up in gardens out this way, either by hop scotching their way west on their own, or on something transported from back east.  One was found in Oklahoma late last year. 


https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/904334-Trichonephila-clavata


Btw, the species mentioned here is in the same family as the similar looking, intimidatingly large species native to Florida and other parts of the south / other states near the Gulf of Mexico. Unlike the newcomer, the native species is apparently sensitive to cold, which is why it hasn't spread around more in the eastern U.S..

 

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That time of year again when Gila Woodpeckers hang from Hummingbird feeders.. awaiting Saguaro blooms..

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I haven't uploaded too many photos lately...living in a small rental in suburbia and just don't get the variety of birdlife here (or snakes, lizards etc). I got this Torresian Crow a couple of weeks ago...sitting in a tree in the park behind my place...I was in my back yard when I took the shot, so it qualifies LOL! 

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Gold Coast, Queensland Latitude 28S. Mild, Humid Subtropical climate. Rainfall - not consistent enough!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Genus Uta, Side-blotched Lizards.. Could be the Western Subspecies, Uta stansburiana ssp. elegans. Breeding season male. Female came out from under a rock, but not long enough to grab a picture before this male chased her off.

Observed a Zebra Tail, Callisaurus draconoides as well in another area but these are very tough to approach ( Alert, head held high / good eyesight ). Will often bolt for the safety of a low, dense bush or rodent/ snake burrow the instant they see something large within 30ft of where they are positioned. Easier to photograph if approached in a way where they have a tougher time seeing you ..or cloudy days during monsoon season. During really hot afternoons, they will often stand on two feet, alternating which two touch the ground.  Common name refers to how the striped tail is raised over the back when they run. They will also wiggle it to lure in prey as well.  Neat Lizard.


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Another " sign of Summer "  ..the " return " of White Winged Doves, Zenaida asiatica..While local birds don't disappear entirely from the area, seems they are less present thru the winter months. Though the species ranges east through Texas, the Gulf Coast, Florida and the Caribbean ..and throughout Mexico and Central America, White Winged Doves are one of our signature Sonoran Desert critters, often seen hanging out near, or atop Saguaro both in town and out in the open desert..  Appears it's range has been expanding north in California / some other areas further east in recent years.

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A little surprised to see them out so early, but makes sense considering the population boom last summer.. Found this White Lined Sphinx, Hyles lineata earlier. While these are among a few of the " Horn Worms " that can give Tomatoes a healthy pruning, they are an important pollinator of many plants, including Plumeria / other plants in the same family, ..Sacred Datura, Four - o - Clocks, and possibly Tecoma stans.

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Here at least, several sources suggest planting Sacred Datura to lure the Moths to ( ..to use as a host plant for the caterpillars ) since it seems they prefer it ..over Tomatoes  when the two plants are present in the same area.

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4 minutes ago, RyManUtah said:

Thanks @Silas_Sancona - I was thinking that as well, they just typically seem to blend in better in my observations. 

:greenthumb:

Agree, It may have moved over from something  yellow it had been hanging out on recently.. Was surprised to see color transitions can take several days.. Always thought it occurred faster.  Fascinating Spiders, but i try to keep them away from plants on the patio. While not dangerous ( despite being directly  related to Recluse and Wandering Spiders ) a bite can leave a nice welt and burn / itch for a couple hours.. Plus, this year at least, have several Praying Mantis egg cases getting ready to hatch... No hanging out next to the buffet table allowed, lol. 

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Horrible picture ( between cameras for the moment, so using the house tablet ) but last year's eggs are this years Praying Mantis babies caught just as they're hatching out..

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Somewhat better pictures as the next group of Praying Mantis hatchlings escape a second  egg case placed in another area..  More babies have been hatching from the first egg case over the weekend as well..

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A Red Necked Wallaby sitting back and taking it easy near a Bizzy I planted over the creek from my place.

 

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1 hour ago, steve99 said:

A Kookaburra on my back fence allowed me to get nice & close today.   

 

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Awesome photos Steve...what lens did you have on?

Gold Coast, Queensland Latitude 28S. Mild, Humid Subtropical climate. Rainfall - not consistent enough!

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11 minutes ago, Daryl said:

Awesome photos Steve...what lens did you have on?

 Thanks Daryl.  I was using my Nikon D810 & 28-300mm 3.5-5.6G lens.   

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Wandering around the yard testing the macro on the new camera..

Some bugs..

Assassin bug sp.

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Diptera ..something

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Praying Mantis kiddos

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..Their mortal enemy

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..Neighborhood Doves..

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From a quick walk in the park this morning  ..More testing the camera's strengths and weaknesses.. No Dragonflies out, yet.. Darn it, lol..

Uncommonly human- tolerant Great Blue Heron ( Here at least, they tend to fly off if you get too close, most of the time anyway )


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Verdin, Auriparus flaviceps

This charismatically " Sonoran Desert "  bird faces a somewhat stressful future as both destruction of it's preferred habitat, Mesquite Bosque / spiny thickets are destroyed for homes, and climate change related issues shift insect availability / etc..  In some cases, these birds have shown some degree of adaptation / acceptance to human- altered environments  as long as there spiny, native trees or Cacti to nest in, and plants that attract their favorite prey..  The species itself may be expanding parts of it's range in certain areas, including further west, closer to coastal parts of S. Cal.


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Common Gallinule gathering breakfast for the little ones..

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Opuntia englemannii Pollen-fest for the Bees..

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