I was watching the backyard the other day and noticed a few baby robins hanging out on the grass. As I watched, the number of babies went up to five baby robins, followed by their dad joining them for a little bit before returning to his perch in one of our trees. The babies are the speckled ones and the dad is one with the bright russet chest.
There’s a little place I frequent, teaming with finches, wrens, nuthatches, hummingbirds, butterflies, carpenter bees, occasionally a cooper’s or red-shouldered hawk, and wild rat terriers. It’s conveniently located in my backyard, and is full of wildlife largely thanks to my mom’s lovely garden (because I, like most of many other twenty-somethings, had to move back home after college for a little bit before heading out on my own). The photos in this album are of my mom’s veggie garden and the butterfly bush turned butterfly tree that’s taken over our backyard and attracts all kinds of butterflies, including our tiger swallowtails.
Okay, so I’m a nerd and think insects are cool and I saw this mayfly on my car window before I left for work yesterday morning. Nerd alert: Some male mayflies don’t have mouths when they morph into their adult bodies and only have enough energy reserves stored up to reproduce once before they die! Crazy!
My family used to have a raging passion flower taking over the fence in our backyard. It was gorgeous, but was destroying our fence, so it had to go. Before my family pulled it out, we found a spiny little caterpillar in the brush and after some research I found it was a Gulf fritillary. Very beautiful and a great surprise!
Have you been to Harvey Bear Park in Gilroy, Ca? There are two areas considered part of Harvey Bear, the two-mile paved track and the Mendoza Ranch, in addition to Coyote Lake which is connected to Coyote Reservoir. Though the two-mile track is popular for bikers, joggers, walkers, the track also boasts some beautiful wildlife that live in the meadows and oaktrees flanking the path including magpies, woodpeckers, squirrels, meadowlarks, snakes, golden eagles, swallows, the list goes on! Although I didn’t get to see all of these creatures today, I do hope to show you guys the eagles and meadowlarks in the near future!
We recently spent some time at a beach house in South Santa Cruz County and in the 1.4 acres of hilly grassland and eucalyptus groves, my family encountered countless native creatures, as usual when we visit this property. In past years, we’ve seen bobcats walking on the perimeter fence, coveys of quail darting in and out of the brush, an osprey flying over head, headed straight for the beach, and an ever-developing family of great-horned owls. The invasive and normally disruptive eucalyptus trees are extremely valuable for the owls, acting as perfect camouflage! We captured photos of the mama and her bigger, fluffier teenager at sunset one evening, and then again early the next morning.