Sunday, November 18, 2012

Flora and fauna

Flowers at Treebones
I am still thrilled to see callas in the wild

Wind flower?

close-up of butterfly flock

What the butterfly tree looked like. The butterflies are right in the middle

Need to use a telescope to see them. I put  my iPhone right next to the ocular

Succulent collection

This tree was covered with enormous blossoms. Steve's hand in background to give you some idea how huge these were. My botanist SIL did not know what they were

Passion fruit blossom. Very complex looking

Unripe passion fruit. Ripe purple ones were on the ground

Another hummingbird

Eunium in my brother's backyard which was a magnet for this yellkowish-green hummingbird. Alas no photo of that

Lots of seagulls and pelicans. No good shot of the latter. They would fly close to mewhile I ran. So prehistoric looking

Harbor seals

Sea lions. The San Francisco Bay isn't salty enough for sharks, their enemy, so they feel safe here
Elephant seals

Orchid like flower in my brother's front yard. Had lots of azaleas, thrift, roses too.
Ice plant: Some consider this an invader to be ripped up. Others consider it a blessing for erosion control. Has pink or yellowish white blossoms. In some parts, the plant would be deep red. Here in Monterey, it is warmer so all green.

Mule deer all over in Pacific Grove
I love seeing flowers and animals that I wouldn't see back home. Right now, all that is in bloom are my edelweiss and alyssum. Oliver was upset to find 'the skunk plant' dead (aka cleome). I had a variety of ice plant in my rock garden but it didn't bloom. It might last until next year. And we still have plenty of deer; the larger white tail versus the CA mule deer versus the tiny roe deer I saw in Italy.

Raptors: I didn't see the king of the raptors, the CA condor though we saw plenty of hawks and vultures. Raptors have their fans. On top of the Marin Headlands, we came across The Raptor Club with all their viewing aids excitedly recording all the alleged raptors floating above us. What we saw were black dots. Bird Nerds they called themselves.

Elephant seals: They have lots of friends. One of the elephant seal friends came with me on my walk. She drives 2 hours in every week to educate the public about the seals. Where are the bulls? (I wanted to show Steve how impressive they are weighing almost 2 tons. All that was there were females and juveniles). She whipped out a map  of Alaska. They are feeding right outside of this. They will be back late January to start mating.Why were the females and teenagers there? Building up their bones. If the seals spend too much time feeding in the water, their skeletons get weak and then they wouldn't be able to support their massive weight when they have to come ashore. Just slithering around on the beach occasionally is enough exercise for them. The teenagers stage mock fights with the bellowing we heard at night.

Sea Lions: Top attraction in San Francisco. There are many floating platforms for them but they choose to pile up on top of each other. One of the sea lions was being ostracized for some reason and wasn't allowed to join his peers who would kick him off the platform. Humans don't bother them; sharks do and this area is safe from sharks due to low salinity.

Harbor seals: We saw these all over the place. They are fairly small but have their fans too. In the reserve near my brother's house, there are rangers constantly ensuring one doesn't get too close..

Monarchs: There are two places in the world these butterflies congregate for the winter: the east of the Rockies ones fly down to Mexico and the west of the Rockies fly to Pacific Grove. There are butterflies out and about beyond the Grove. In the gardens in Big Sur, they were all over the place. Steve was trying to photograph them and I told him to hold off until we got to Butterfly Central. When we first got to the Grove, we could see a few fluttering up in the sky, not the massive amounts promised so we were disappointed. But just as we were leaving, we spotted a crowd around a telescope with a Butterfly Friend. Looking through the scope, there they were. Thousands huddled together. With the bare eye, you could barely make the masses out as they appeared to be so many dead leaves. But with the telescope, you could see them. Impressive.

Hummingbirds: So many different kinds with differently colored gorgets. (patch on the throats of males that in Michigan is always red or orangish red when the sun hits it the right way). Saw bronze and lavender gorgets along with red, pink, and orange. In Southern CA, there are plenty of hummingbirds but all the ones I remembered seeing were the Anna's hummingbird which looks like the Michigan one only larger and with  a lighter colored  head. As it has been two long months since my hummers visited my feeder, it was a special joy to see these all over.

Other birds: Herons, pelicans, Stellar Jay, Mountain Blue bird.Lots of finches though not as pretty as the ones here.

Fennel: In my rock garden I have a small (less than 8 inches) fennel plant struggling to survive. Wild fennel abounds everywhere along the coast. It is often 5 feet tall. My rosemary plant that I have had for several years and looks pretty good at 2 feet high is currently wintering in my kitchen. My SIL's rosemary plant is a 6 foot tall bush outside. The same with lavender My plant is maybe 2 feet tall versus 4 to 5 feet out there.:

Flowers, Cypresses. Big Trees: All over the place

1 comment:

Teri Bernstein said...

Wow! what a lot of nature. Wonderful. Too bad Steve was sick.


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