Sometimes when I’m birdwatching Fifteen months ago the hills…

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Sometimes when I’m birdwatching

Fifteen months ago the hills above Carpinteria burned. Last Sunday I hiked up the Franklin Trail before dawn; this is what it looked like.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/183578915826.

A Sweet Story

Sunday, March 17th, 2019

nanonaturalist:

Once upon a time (November 2017), I came upon a large hive covered in lovely stripey friends, and I took a photo. Unfortunately, I was still new to my camera, and I didn’t realize until I uploaded the photos that my focus depth was off. Oh no!

I uploaded my photos to iNaturalist, identified the friends as honeybees, and went on my way. Except, I was told that this was not a honeybee nest, and the bees had likely made this hive a temporary home while searching for a new one. 

Unsatisfied, I returned the next day, determined to get better photos of the nest. I got them

They weren’t bees temporarily taking up residence in an abandoned paper wasp nest. They were Mexican Honey Wasps, who make a big, elaborate paper nests. And also, honey. Yes, wasps that eat honey. Oh yeah, and they also eat pest insects that damage food crops, and it’s believed that these wasps were responsible for pollinating avocados before honeybees were introduced from Europe.

But anyway, I’m digressing. 

I don’t see these wasps very often. Besides on that nest, I haven’t really seen them elsewhere.

Until earlier this week. Guess who visited my garden?

I have an Elderberry bush baby growing (it’s not even a year old yet). And it would appear that Elderberry plants have nectaries–those little knobby things where the leaves attach to the stem by my fingers are the nectaries. Think of nectaries as little plant nipples that let insects drink nectar direct from the tap. Ants and wasps can’t get enough of them. While I was taking these pictures, I had two other wasp species wandering through this bush for the nectaries!

But that wasp up there?

Going to town on the nectaries here?

Mexican Honey Wasp

I’m going to be so excited if their nest ends up being in my yard! They’d be smart to put one in there! So many bugs for them to eat! So much delicious nectar! 

I love my yard. I’m at 989 species right now. So close to 1,000. 

March 17, 2019

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/183515269366.

Sometimes when I’m birdwatchingThe Painted Ladies are migrating;…

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Sometimes when I’m birdwatching

The Painted Ladies are migrating; according to news articles something like a billion butterflies are currently flying north through coastal southern California. At work in Playa Vista yesterday I went to the Starbucks on Jefferson and while waiting for my order I looked out the window and counted butterflies. I estimated twice, and got roughly 200 per minute flying through the intersection. They seemed to come in waves that corresponded to the traffic signals; I think the butterflies are smart enough not to cross against LA traffic. Or maybe it’s an effect of the wind the cars and trucks make, and the butterflies are just being carried along?

Back in Carp today I hiked the Franklin Trail at lunch and watched the same migration. This Painted Lady paused to refuel from the Blue Dicks blossoms in the Thomas Fire burn scar.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/183414269421.

Did you know that beetle wings used to be sewn onto dresses? Like, hundreds of them on each dress? It’s equally creepy and beautiful.

Monday, March 11th, 2019

oh my stars, anyone have pictures?

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/183397726231.

Sometimes when I’m birdwatching

Tuesday, December 25th, 2018

Sometimes when I’m birdwatching

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/181415444321.

nanonaturalist: This handsome man stole my heart! Tarantula…

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

nanonaturalist:

This handsome man stole my heart! 

Tarantula Hawk wasp, seen at Lake Travis outside Austin, TX

August 4 / Posted October 2, 2018

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/181227696067.

brooklynbridgebirds:Ruby-crowned KingletBrooklyn Bridge Park,…

Monday, December 10th, 2018

brooklynbridgebirds:

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/180987640735.

damianward:Chalkhill Blue

Friday, November 30th, 2018

damianward:

Chalkhill Blue

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/180669897422.

Sometimes when I’m birdwatching

Monday, November 26th, 2018

Sometimes when I’m birdwatching

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/180520019328.

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)Foothill Road,…

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)

Foothill Road, 2018-10-30

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/179603451606.

Sometimes when I’m birdwatching

Saturday, October 27th, 2018

Sometimes when I’m birdwatching

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/179497116996.

Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) and Honey Bee (Apis…

Saturday, October 27th, 2018

Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) and Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)

Gobernador Canyon Road, 2018-10-26

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/179485051316.

debunkshy: QueenPedernales Falls SP, TX20 May 2018

Friday, October 19th, 2018

debunkshy:

Queen
Pedernales Falls SP, TX
20 May 2018

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/179223188671.

nanonaturalist: Inktober: Day 3Day 3 Prompt: Aquatic. Model is this Mayfly nymph from Bastrop…

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

nanonaturalist:

Inktober: Day 3

Day 3 Prompt: Aquatic.

Model is this Mayfly nymph from Bastrop County, TX last spring [iNat link]

From @six-legs-and-more’s list

October 4, 2018 (liar!)

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/178745482806.

ostdrossel: Rainy days, weird weather, fall is here.

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

ostdrossel:

Rainy days, weird weather, fall is here.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/178713242073.

lies: Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness Every year…

Monday, October 1st, 2018

lies:

Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends
into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out

to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing, as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married

to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but
what else will do

if the love one claims to have for the world
be true?
So let us go on

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.

— Mary Oliver, from A Thousand Mornings

Photo by Kelly Gardner, Mississippi valley mayfly emergence, July 20, 2014.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/178651333364.

dendroica:Summer Azure, Celastrina neglecta (by me)

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

dendroica:

Summer Azure, Celastrina neglecta (by me)

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/178289331257.

90377: Azuré by Marc Andreu

Monday, September 10th, 2018

90377:

Azuré by Marc Andreu

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/177941927930.

90377: Running Free by Marc Andreu

Friday, September 7th, 2018

90377:

Running Free by Marc Andreu

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/177852028411.

perpetuallytransient: Rabbitbrush Leaf Beetle (Trirhabda…

Friday, September 7th, 2018

perpetuallytransient:

Rabbitbrush Leaf Beetle (Trirhabda nitidicollis)

These look very similar to the Coyote Brush Leaf Beetles (Trirhabda flavolimbata) that I see a lot around here. 

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/177843986567.