May 31

New (so far) Species

Posted: under Officialdom, Water, Wildlife.
Tags: , , ,  May 31st, 2017

When talking about a new species, I need to make clear that it can have different meanings here:  1) a species we have not previously identified on the 80 acres (could be IDed or not, photographed or not…just something new seen), 2) a species not previously identified here which is documented, IDed, and added to the list, 3) a species none of the experts consulted can identify and consider a new (to science) species.

So what have we had this spring in any of the categories?   First, a planthopper that hasn’t been IDed yet…it’s been photographed, but not as well as I’d like.  It was on the kitchen windowscreen one late afternoon, and the next day (when the light might’ve been better) it wasn’t.

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Jul 01

More Pond Life

Posted: under photography, Plantlife, Water, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , , , ,  July 1st, 2010

When I went out yesterday about noon, I found four of these lovely pink waterlily flowers open:

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Jun 29

Death in the Afternoon

Posted: under Mortality, photography, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , , , ,  June 29th, 2010

We had thunder and rain this afternoon for several hours, but around six, sun broke through enough to illuminate the newly refilled lily pond.  I went out to see what was going on with pondlife.   Two male Neon Skimmers, Libellula croceipennis, were harrassing  the four or five male Blue Dashers, Pachydiplax longipennis, and also pestering the two female Neon Skimmers who were ovipositing in the pond.

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May 24


Posted: under Activities, Climate Change, Water, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , , , , ,  May 24th, 2010

Young Rana berlandieri with last of its tail showing.

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May 20

Five Views of One Snake

Posted: under photography, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , , ,  May 20th, 2010

If you’re one of the people who hate and fear all snakes, this might be a moment to remind yourself that this one is merely an image in the computer, as well as a small, slender, agile reptile that is harmless to us humans.

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May 10

It’s All Wildlife…

Posted: under Activities, photography, Plantlife, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,  May 10th, 2010

Because of time constraints (working on copy edits for new book) and weather, the brief walk on the land Saturday didn’t produce any usable bird pictures and I didn’t see any snakes or lizards, but I did see wildlife, large and small:

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Apr 27

Dragonfly Emergence

Posted: under photography, Wildlife.
Tags: , , ,  April 27th, 2010

Back on April 20, I happened to see a dragonfly, just out of its nymphal exoskeleton, clinging to the stone border of the lily pond.   An hour earlier and I could have photographed the whole sequence, but I have a partial sequence.

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Aug 31

Turtle Rescue (again)

Posted: under Activities, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , ,  August 31st, 2009

Several times in the past couple of years we’ve had to get a turtle out of the fence.  The horse lots fencing is pipe with welded-mesh cattle panels welded to the pipe–so there’s a pipe at the bottom.  Good safe horse fence, but not easy for turtles to maneuver through/around and turtles don’t seem to have the idea of paralleling a fence to find a gap.

So yesterday evening, shortly before dark, the horses were acting freakish in the barn and south barn pen, and Richard spotted a good-sized turtle.  I came out with the camera and first saw this:


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Jun 22

Summer Wasps

Posted: under photography, Wildlife.
Tags: , , ,  June 22nd, 2009

We have many kinds of wasps (many more kinds than I knew existed when we moved here!  I thought all black wasps were mud daubers–and there was only one kind.  I thought all red wasps were hornets, and the common small yellow-and-brown striped wasp was a yellow-jacket…and that was it.)

But the scariest of our wasps, to me, was the big, multicolored wasp that seemed determined to get into the vans and then–if I didn’t get it out before starting–buzzed around busily, bumping into windows and sometimes me.

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Jun 12

Oops, sorry…

Posted: under Wildlife.
Tags: ,  June 12th, 2009

We’d gone out in the hot (very!) afternoon to look at the effect of rain on the grass garden, skirting the tiny (only two fruit trees left, and never had more than six) orchard on the mound a former owner had scuffed up to put a house-for-sale on. ..but luckly, he ran out of money.

So we walked on a path Richard had mowed along the west fence and then along the north fence, and then turned back toward the orchard.  One of the remaining pears is on the NW corner of the “hump”, and near it are a few natives woody plants.   I noticed that the kidneywood was blooming and stopped to smell it and start to photograph a handsome large wasp nectaring on its upper flowers when I heard a rustling in the dense shade under the pear.  I thought it was a big lizard (we have big lizards that make a lot of noise on bark) but didn’t see it–and suddenly a little gray and red blur with a black stripe down its back ran down the far corner of the hump (where a peach tree used to be) and across the grassy area to the north horse lot, squeezing through the gate.

It was a young gray fox.   I’m SO sorry I disturbed it–foxes love to nap in dense shade in the middle of the day, and this one is probably in our garden because there’s water in the water garden and ample mice and grasshoppers and other prey.   And I scared it.

The fox loped the length of the north horse lot, ducked behind the big enclosure full of roses (pipe gates and wire making a big circle around the Cecile Brunner so the horses can’t eat it–there’s now a huge mound of rosebush that the birds love.  I half-expected the fox to hide in there, but it ran out from behind the roses and exited our northwest corner…which put it right next to the secondary drainage outlet.  Plenty of cover in there.

Still…I’m sorry I scared it.   It’s a very hot day.  If it hadn’t panicked, I’d never have known it was there.

No, I wasn’t quick enough to take a picture.   I was staring.

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