Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Lazuli Bunting, Yosemite water craze & obligatory Monty Python reference

 Hey, there peeps!

"I'm not dead! Think I'll go for a walk!" 'nuf said? =D


Lazuli Lifer

Lazuli Bunting appeared on the feeder (Sunday) &
I freaked out SO HARD my hands were shaking.
I'd NEVER seen one EVER & had to look up among the SHOWY birds 
I've never seen to even figure out what it was. WOW!!! =D

Then it took off & I jumped up and down
& DH & I high-fived. 


The Iris Time

A furled purple iris. I love how moody they look.

Polka dots! =D
Those tiny specks make me CRAZY happy.

Just sitting there, looking (& smelling) glorious...

The carpenter bee has returned to its annual haunt of the iris bed outside our window:
Love this giant, territorial creature: it flies laps & dispels other bees
and I'm grateful it's been cutting me slack, so far, as I walk past... =D

I will always adore these flowers & am so glad they like our Mediterranean climate. =D


Yosemite Flow

Have been going to the park (Yosemite) more than usual this spring,
partly for work (poor, poor me) and partly 'cause there was SO much rain this winter.

The waterfalls are CRANKING like MAD and the Merced River
is WAY up so marvelous reflections abound. Fabulous! =D
Yosemite Falls

North Dome & wetlands & a TINY piece
of Clouds Rest & Half Dome. =D
This was just inches south of Southside Drive,
just west of the chapel. Water!!! =D

Speaking of, I tweeted & Instagram-ed videos of Yosemite Falls
that I took with my iPad  &
it got picked up by SFgate & GrindTV ,
the latter in an article called,
"7 incredible videos of the historic Sierra snowpack melt at Yosemite Falls."
Turns out TWO of those 7 are MINE?!? Crazy.
And I only know 'cause the Tweeple alerted me to it.

Hooray, you guys!! =D

Anyhow, that was bizarre & fun. It's totally DH's fault:
he alerted me re: when the river would peak (high flow)
so recommended I drive up, so I did & it was HEAVENLY.


Etc.

Got a few new hummingbird feeders, including this orange one
which just ADDS to the Anna's hummingbird's amazing pink shimmer. Phew!
Color not enhanced AT all. =D

This is DH photographing a small bear we startled on the Valley Loop Trail in Yosemite:
As you can tell, I'm respecting the bear's privacy,
NOT totally being a bear-scaredy-cat. =D
The bear had been ear-tagged but was doing good wild bear stuff,
shredding a downed log for delicious grubs.

With all this winter rain, the grass at our place is OUT OF CONTROL!!
There's ENTIRE DEER there...

And here's the view from my back porch, looking across the grass sea... *sigh*
Some of the grass is nearly as tall as I am (6'). I THINK there's a few
planted plants in the garden amid the crashing waves of weeds... 😁

So, I will be in the valley MOAR this summer since due to my 1st gig this spring,
and the kind woman who hired me, I get ANOTHER gig in early summer! =D

Which means numerous required visits to the park to plan where we'll
meet & stop & walk & what I'll blab about.

Which ALSO means I get lots of steps hiking for research.
In Yosemite Valley.

Which means I get happy.
Again.


HOORAY!! =D


xoxoxobb
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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Photo phling: 2 ambushed, 2 Bs & 1 hoverfly.

Hey, there. Am presently in panicked photo printing mode (co. fair deadline)
but owe you photos from July, so here's 5 lovelies for you.

 Lookit! I found an ambush bug on the mint plant again this year. Hurrah!! =D
They look SO tough, but are SO tiny. =)

Turns out, there's TWO on this plant.
 This second one was darker.

If ambush bugs found, then biobabbler is happy.

A very yellow bee on a native, BIG ol' aster. SO very fuzzy! =D

Honey bee putting her left foot in (hokey-pokey style),
showing off that off-white pollen. =D

Hoverfly on mustard at the work site. 

Little beauty. =D

So, hope you enjoyed this glimpse into July bugginess,
next post will be August charmers.

If you'd like to share your summer bug posts via links in the comments, feel free! =D

xoxoxobb

Friday, June 17, 2016

The county fair & photo exhibit + 3 bonus photos just 4 u. =)

 So, 1st: apologies for NOT POSTING in MAY. Wow.
(Throws biodegradable glitter to distract you.)


Fair Foto Fun

Annnyhow,
I entered some of my photos in a nearby county fair at the end of May.

Very exciting & less totally nerve-wracking than last time.
Perhaps experience breeds calm? Or, at least lack-of-total-freakout. =D

The fair itself was last weekend, and that's when I learned how I did.


Which is pretty well! =)
Got 1st & 2nd in 8/9 photos.

I'll take it! =D

I ALSO got to ogle other's lovely & inspiring work.
Which is MOST enjoyable.

One professional/advanced photographer's work I LOVED was Christopher Viney.
His 1st place photo in landscape:
gah!

And his 1st place agriculture photo:
How surprising & abstract is that for "agriculture?" Too cool.

So, I got curious & googled his name.
Apparently, when he's not being a rockin' great photographer,
he is teaching physics at UC Merced.

Clearly, not much goin' on, there. =D

Here's another shot I LOVED (flower)
but unfortunately didn't get the photographer's name in the shot.

Crazy good.
DH's party shirt (white horseshoes on red background)
& me & my Trader Joe's bad made some weird reflections, therein.


Also ogled sundry gorgeous cows.

 Mama & junior looking coy (typo was "cow"). =)

DH in his happy place: Part I
 Petting the cute little goats.

DH in his happy place: Part II
 Look out, honey, your Midwestern heritage is showing!

They have a pretty nice range of old tractors there so we took in the tractor parade.

Fun was had by all.

=)

Bonus Pics

And just for fun, the elegant sphinx moth (Sphinx perelegans) I found on our garden gate
(species ID confirmed by my moth-y expert friend, Dr. Dan Rubinoff)
"Don't see my eyes!"

This is a LARGE moth. From ~3.5" to 4.25."
Made my DAY.
And it blended in PERFECTLY with the faded grey wood. =)

Dr. Dan said they raise their young on manzanita (among other things),
so this pup could have grown up right here. =)

Last, this flower went into a windstorm with wet hair,
and now looks AMAZING! =D

And when open, this bee was VERY happy to be there.

Note the white pollen coating its legs. =)

Thassit! I hope your summer (or winter) is starting out well.
It's been AMAZINGLY mild & wonderful this last week, 
but is on schedule to fling itself into the 100s soon, 
so I'll have to start taking Stop Whining pills then.

For now, I will simply bask in the glory that is our world right NOW.

=) 

xoxoxoxobb

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I love spring

On the road

My commute home from work site--skirting the storm.
 It's so great to see the hills all green after years of drought.
Check out how the rainbow is doubling itself (at the bottom).

One of the cutest things I've EVER seen: baby killdeer
with its siblings and very busy parents at Merced National Wildlife Refuge.
Check out that TINY wing! =)

Snow goose, also at the Merced NWR.
That beak makes me think of a sock puppet, for some reason... =)


This native phlox was SO frothy & pink (on highway 166) we HAD to pull over
during our drive to Carrizo Plain NM.

The Carrizo Plain NM: a fascinating place.
Heaven for a minimalist, and I was anxious to visit, since
the last time we saw it, it was 4 years into a drought.
 Soda Lake stirred by wind.

Carrizo Plain had greened up nicely, thanks to El Niño.

Desert candle (Caulanthus inflatus), a species I'd never seen before, at Carrizo Plain NM.
Another thing we saw from the car & stopped to investigate. =)

We drove up elevation from Carrizo & found purple puddles of Phacelia. So great!


Closer shot of Phacelia--love those flamboyant anthers. =)

More wildflower puddles, north and uphill of the Carrizo Plain.


Back home

Band-tailed pigeons appeared under our bird feeder—that was a first!
They are SO much bigger than mourning doves (upper left corner).
Love their bright beaks & feet.

Ladybird beetle upon lilac. Ah, spring! =)

 The new climbing rose we just bought is making me swoon.
 I have a thing for anthers...

Wavyleaf soap plant (Chlorogalum pomeridianum) beading water beautifully. =)


Lovely variegated miner's lettuce (Claytonia spp.) on our property that caught my eye.
So stylish! =)

Last, a wild hyacinth (Dichelostemma capitatum) on our property.
What an elegant beauty.

I hope you all are having a marvelous spring (or fall).
It's a pretty amazing thing.

xoxoxobb

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Wild (speedy) wildlife photo fling

Just in case you don't follow me on Twitter or Instagram,
I wanted to be sure you see the lovely creatures
that have been gracing our property, of late.  =)

The grand coyote (Canis latrans) arrived after big splashes of rain.

Was cruising around, hunting gophers,
spending a lot of time looking about (hence, Wily Coyote).
(Note coat is wet fm. all that rain)

The classic LEAP & JAM down into gopher tunnels. =)


We also saw bobcat (Lynx rufus).
That fence is at the northern (and very wild) edge of our property.
Source of many great things for a biologist. =)

Sleepy bobcat in manzanita shade at the edge of our driveway.
Very exciting for me, but I only allowed myself 3 photos, 
then left that window so it could relax w/o the paparazzi. =)


And, here's an animal both the above species love to eat,
and of which we have plenty, the humble gopher (Thomomys spp.).
Attracts SO many exciting carnivores for me to ogle. =)


 Wily Coyote Tale

I'd recently noticed the fencing of our hen's porch
seemed a little more pulled away from the framing than it had been.
As if a creature was helping that process along...

So, investigating it to asses when & how to fix it,
I saw FOUR long hairs right at one of the pulled-away corners.

Pretty sure hair that long is from a coyote.

Funny, when I'm about (& awake) the coyote studiously avoids the hen house.

Looks like when the humans are snoozing,
coyotes return & look into opening that tantalizing snack shack.

Since then I've shored it up & will do more of that work today.

Mechanical exclusion is my #1 method for dealing with pests,
whether they're gophers or deer (gardening) or coyotes & bobcats (chickens).

That way, if I'm smart, there's no need to kill anything.

These giant brains can be very useful, if we employ them. =)

xoxobb

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tiny worlds...

 Baby blue-eyes (Nemophila menziesii) sprung open this a.m.


And therein I found things I never saw clearly before I got a macro lens.

Little worlds are everywhere...
Probably globular springtails, see bugguide.net.

Tiny little lives, everywhere you look...

xoxobb