Sunday, May 19, 2013

Next Question

What's up with cows?  As I was taking those photographs the other day of the sandpiper, I felt "someone" watching me.  I turned around and saw this.  Middle-aged, sweaty ladies with camera bags can't be *that* interesting, can we?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Help Identifying Wildflowers

It's nearly as bad as the fungus obsession - this time of year - well anytime of year I see a wildflower is more accurate.  I have a semi-real goal of photographing all of the wildflowers on or around Dryad Ranch.  "Semi" in that I doubt I'll ever see them all. 

I work with four wildflower field guides, including John Muir Law's Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada.  I also spent a lot of time on the Calflora web site trying to track down what species of flora I've just photographed.  Sometimes, I can only get as close as family and then get stumped.  Sometimes I don't even get that far.  I suspect that many times I've photographed something that is non-native and therefore isn't included in any of the guides. 

The next two images show two I've gotten nowhere with.  Any ideas on where to start looking?  Both of these were found in the mostly dry creek bed that runs below the road from the ford (just past the green gate) to the Chowchilla River.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Number 94: Spotted Sandpiper

I hadn't walked along the river near the bridge in quite some time, so I decided to head that direction just to see what could be seen.  I had wildflowers in mind, mostly, but one must always keep an open mind because lovely surprises could be waiting around the next corner.  After spending some time watching a pair of killdeers calling and scurrying along the sides of the Chowchilla, I headed upriver for a ways in hopes of possibly spotting a turtle.  Instead, I saw a pair of these Spotted Sandpipers:  number 94 for our bird list!  I didn't know the species until I was able to get home and consult the Sibley's; I just knew we hadn't seen them here before.

It's at times like this that I'm glad for always having the big lens in my camera bag.  It's extra weight to carry but worth it.  (This time of year I start carrying lots of water because it's starting to heat up a bit. The bag weighs somewhere upwards of 30 pounds; it's a good workout.)

For good measure, I'll throw in a wildflower picture.  This is yellow sweet clover - unfortunately not native.  I saw quite a lot of it in the dry creek just below the ford. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Spiders, Beetles, Birds

I took this week off work meaning that the days flew by.  I've been getting a lot of weeding done and believe I have only a few more days work to go on that and then it'll be more or less done for the year. 

Of course I've also been out looking for wildflowers and other neat things.  I found these beetles enjoying themselves on some white whorled lupines.  I'm pretty sure they are Hoplia dispar - they have an interesting silver sheen on the underside.  Evidently they prefer white flowers to any other and can be garden pests although evidently they usually aren't a scourge.  The ones I saw were way down near the river so I remain hopeful they don't find their way up to our roses.  A friend of mine saw this picture and helped me with the ID and the only reason she knew about them was because they had munched on her garden, especially her roses.

This next picture I got because I was originally interested in the wildflower - a winecup clarkia.  When I noticed the spider I refocused on that since I already have a decent image of the clarkia (I'm pretty sure).  I used the black case I have in my camera bag as a makeshift backdrop.  I don't know what kind of spider it is.

I've seen a blue heron the last two times I've walked down to the river - it's not impossible that there is a pair.

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