As Good As July Gets!
After hyping my fantastic walk on Wednesday, I promised I’d share it with you all today (Thursday), but as I’m not getting to posting this until midnight, no one will even read this until Friday! *sigh*
Sorry, everybody. It was cloudy and cool again today and (apparently) I have no will power when it comes to such matters. Now I’m about two days behind on other stuff that needed my attention. But, thinking over my memories of the past two days’ walks, I can honestly say I have no regrets! *GRIN*
And now, on to the good stuff…
In the summer months, I keep a few containers filled with water outside our cabin. There are increasingly few water sources for birds and mammals as the seasonal creek shrinks and slows to a trickle in some spots.
In addition to several bird species (including a Cooper’s Hawk!), I have also seen deer, fox, bobcat, coyote, rabbit and squirrel availing themselves.
This Western Gray Squirrel (Sciurus griseus) was busy getting a drink as I stepped outside for my walk. *Be sure to click on the image for an amusing bonus shot.* You lookin’ at me??!
In the active months of summer, it can be hard to get past the front of my cabin withougt being distracted by some new arthropod.
In this case, the wooden porch railing was hosting something otherworldy!
This is the immature (nymph) stage of some leafhopper (Family Cicadellidae) species. Up close, It’s very impressive looking — with that spiked tail — but its actual size is all of about 2 to 3 millimeters.
One of the best parts about cool weather in the summer months is that many of these insects will slow down considerably.
Looking for resting bees hanging out in the center of flowers is one of my favorite pastimes.
I would have stayed longer taking more photographs of this bee (no ID yet!) resting in a white Oleander bloom, but one of my neighbors was apparently becoming quite agitated…
Another gray squirrel had climbed high into the bare branches of an olive tree, twitching its tail and loudly alerting everything to my presence.
I tried to assure the squirrel that I was not even remotely worth all the fuss.
But the yammering continued and I decided to peaceably move along.
One of the increasingly few remaining California Poppies still blooming this late in the season.
The eye-popping orange is even more startling amidst the browning backdrop of our summer hillsides.
I stopped to photograph this sluggish Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis longipes).
Every time the light shifted and became a little brighter, I would glance skyward to see if the sun was finally going to successfully break through the clouds. I held my breath, hoping the cloud cover would hold.
I glanced down and realized that the lizard was looking up too… I’m guessing it was eagerly awaiting that very moment.
Sun is like coffee for lizards… their day gets off to a slow start without it.
I turned to inspect a large patch of California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica) and struck gold… well, COPPER actually!
This female Tailed Copper (Lycaena arota) was insanely cooperative and let me get close to take some beautiful photos.
Then, she really outdid herself…
…and turned to show off the pretty pattern on the top of her wings.
How do you say “thank you” in butterfly? *GRIN*
When I passed this same spot on the way home, I thought she was still sitting there. But, it turned out to be a male this time. Coincidence? Or was he also waiting, just hoping that she would return?
A frustrating moment at the end of my very lovely walk…
There on the ground among the brightly colored eucalyptus leaves was more balloon garbage.
I wrote about my rather strong feelings on this subject in this post from last May. Along with this item, I also picked up a latex glove (ewww…) and several other random bits of plastic.
I long for a world where we as a species create significantly less waste. Where we are all concerned about what happens to our trash as it infiltrates increasingly remote natural environs.
~ May we all find more feathers than trash on the trail. ~
This one belonged to an Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus), I think. Compare to image here.
What a wonderful visual anthology! Even the balloon trash photo, disturbing as the subject is, was a valuable addition to challenge us to protect and value all the more what remains of the natural world. (Thinking that “anthology” might be a stretch as a metaphor here, I looked it up, and learned something new: “ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: via French or medieval Latin from Greek anthologia, from anthos ‘flower’ + -logia ‘collection’ (from legein ‘gather’ ). In Greek, the word originally denoted a collection of the “flowers” of verse, i.e., small choice poems or epigrams, by various authors.” And thanks so much for introducing us to the Feather Atlas.
Hello, dear Ruth! Hmmm… I was fascinated to learn the exact meaning and origins of the word “anthology” too. Thank you for sharing!! You know — aside from the trash — these photos did represent the “flowers” of my walk… so, yes, that word does seem quite appropriate as you used it. Thank you for the encouraging words regarding my balloon image. I know that I am still taking baby steps in my journey to be more active within the conservation community. But, I keep reminding myself that we really all have to start in our own way and at our own pace. At least it’s one less piece of trash. One more photo to spread awareness. One more voice wishing for change. RE: the Feather Atlas — Isn’t it awesome?? Happy to be able to share it!