Anna's Hummingbird

18 Jan 19
Avocet Tours

Jan 4 – For those who do not know, the Okanagan Valley is a beautiful place, with fantastic birding opportunities, located in the southern interior of British Columbia. We began our day in Kelowna, meeting up with the 5 tour participants at the Apple Bowl at 8 AM. Our first stop was at Mission Creek […]

18 Jan 19
Delta Nats Casual Birding / Delta Naturalists Society

Nineteen, actually 22, DNCBers enjoyed a two destination outing on another sunny Tuesday at Serpentine Fen in Surrey, and Mill Lake Park in Abbottsford. Lighting and weather was super for our photogs, check out the spectacular evidence on our Flickr site at: I couldn’t see two feet in front of me while driving in […]

17 Jan 19
Mormonish (formerly *What Good Have You Done Today?*)

I have a wild bird resort on my back patio: seed feeders, hummingbird nectar, suet blocks, planters and pots and furniture to perch on. It’s pretty cushy. The birds like it. The dog likes it. The cat likes it. This morning, I took the dog out for her morning ritual. We were outside for all […]

16 Jan 19
The Meanderer

    After our adventures on the highways we did make it safely to our rented home in San Tan Valley Arizona. Our first Arizona friends to visit us were the hummingbirds. They arrived the first day we were here and went directly to the same spot we had our feeder last year before we […]

16 Jan 19
Eric Carlson

Every day is a big day when you bird by bike. At least the way I do it. I was away from home for 9 hours, rode 35 miles, and saw 52 species of birds.

16 Jan 19
Donna Kauffman

We left the Grand Canyon last night before getting snowed in. Traveled to Sedona, and you know, maybe I could put up with this view. Every single day of my life.  Our breakfast patio view was only the beginning! Rain was pending but we ended up with a remarkable day before the skies opened up. […]

15 Jan 19
Pure Vitamin Sea

Hello! First, you may or may not have noticed the domain name change! I upgraded to WordPress Premium today so I can embed videos as well. I may also change the themes as I find more time to work on CSS. Just a short update today. On the way to class, I noticed a bunch […]

13 Jan 19
Marin Independent Journal
It’s not even Valentine’s Day yet, but love is in the air. And it doesn’t always smell sweet to humans. From mid-January to February, skunks are courting and this search often means leaving familiar areas and crossing roads. You may not see these nocturnal animals (expect for the unfortunate ones that end up as road kill), but chances are you will smell them. Males may spray each other as they fight over females, and females may spray a male they don’t want to mate with. The spray, which contains sulphur compounds called mercaptans, can be smelled half a mile away. While skunks are beneficial in keeping down rodents, I have to admit they do live up to their scientific name, Mephitis mephitis, meaning “foul odor foul order!” Even some flowers have unpleasant odors, though you won’t notice the smell of fetid adder’s tongue unless you get close to it. The smell attracts the fungus gnats which pollinate it. Many people mistake this delicate early-blooming beauty for an orchid. The bright green leaves with maroon spots are easier to see than its three delicately striped deep purple and cream petals. The “adder” part comes when the seed pod forms at the end of the long stem, looking like the head of a snake. Look for fetid adder’s tongue as you walk around Lake Lagunitas, on Cataract Trail on Mount Tamalpais near the junction with the Ray Murphy Trail, on TTC trail between Van Wyk Meadow the junction with Dipsea Trail, and in Steep Ravine. Red maids are starting to bloom now. Another of my favorite early wildflowers is the redwood violet, which is yellow, not violet. It grows in Steep Ravine, Muir Woods and other areas with redwoods. Red maids, misnamed since they are really magenta, are starting to bloom now. Native Americans toasted the black, oil-rich seeds and used them in pinole. This flower is in the purslane family, like miner’s lettuce. It doesn’t seem to mind disturbance, and can often be seen growing along the sides of trails. I see red maids at the start of the Bear Valley Trail in Point Reyes, in Mount Burdell Open Space where the seeds are a favorite food of lark sparrows, on Yolanda Trail between Fairfax and Ross, and Indian Tree Open Space. Birds are also breeding or getting ready for the breeding season now. On Alcatraz, Western gulls are starting to claim their territories although they won’t nest until April. Anna’s hummingbirds are already on nests, sitting on two jellybean-size eggs. Mallards, like most ducks, choose their mates on the wintering grounds so we get to watch the courtship displays. Look for mallards bobbing their heads, or swimming fast with the head held low, just skimming the surface of the water for a short distance. In Marin we have mallards that nest locally and mallards that migrate. When they migrate, the male follows the female to the place where she hatched. This means he may breed in many different locations in the course of his life. Mallards can be seen on fresh water almost anywhere — Rush Creek Open Space, any of the reservoirs, even in the channelized creek through Ross. Redwood violet grows in Steep Ravine, Muir Woods and other areas with redwoods. Bushtits are working on their nests now, 10-inch long bags woven from grasses, lichens and bark fibers, bound with spider webs and lined with feathers and fur. Both the male and female build the nest, which may take as long as two months to complete! They both incubate the eggs, and care for the chicks until they leave the nest. Bushtits are quite at home in suburbia and nest in both native and introduced trees though the nest may be difficult to spot. Have you been seeing yellow or orange gelatinous blobs on logs as you walk through the woods? They are a kind of mushroom called witch’s butter. There are actually two types of witch’s butter. They share a common name, even though they are in different genera. One of them (Tremella) is usually on hard wood and parasitizes false turkey tails, while the other (Dacromyces) is more orange than yellow and is found on conifer logs. Despite the name, neither is poisonous, but they are both about as interesting as eating unflavored gelatin. Wendy Dreskin has led the College of Marin nature/hiking class Meandering in Marin since 1998, and teaches other nature classes for adults and children. To contact her, go to
13 Jan 19
Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

After weeks of rain we finally woke to clear skies and sunshine and I headed out back to catch the sunrise in the garden. While thus loitering in my bathrobe a male Anna’s Hummingbird showed up ready for breakfast quite unafraid. Excited, I snapped his picture using the Automatic Exposure mode on my fancy (to […]

12 Jan 19
Natural History Wanderings

Today we went birding at McLaughlin Eastshore State Park in Berkeley, CA. We walked between North Cove and Sea Breeze, along Virginia Annex, and around eastern end of meadow   We identified 31 species today. The seasonal ponds in the meadow were very minimal. Click read more to see bird list.

12 Jan 19
Chasing Dirt

Just when you think you’re going to get all caught up on your Internetting, you find out that the desert is not only full of real thorns, but virtual ones, as well. The first thorn in my side was a notification from the site where I stored all my online photos informing me that it […]

11 Jan 19
BelieveSteve (StevenRichardMiller)

A stand-off in Washington continues over whether to appropriate 5.7 billion dollars to construct a “wall” along our border with Mexico, while American citizens are punished by the Trump administration with a record-length government shutdown. Trump boasts that the shutdown will continue until his demand for that particular sum of money is met. Despite Trump’s […]

11 Jan 19

First ever year I made MVP Gold on Alaska Airlines! i.e. over 40,000 miles flown. All within the continental US. That goes a fair way to explaining my bird list totals, though surprisingly not a huge amount of my time was spent birding on many of those trips. People to see, events to attend, that […]

09 Jan 19
Delta Nats Casual Birding / Delta Naturalists Society

Twenty DNCBer’s broke in the New Year with our first chilly but dry Tuesday morning outing to White Rock and Blackie Spit Park. It was a particularly good birdy morning with lots of neat sightings that you can enjoy by clicking on our DNCB Flickr site.  Some left Petra’s at 7:30 am, and we all […]

07 Jan 19
Once upon a time in the West

I had a whole bunch of stuff written here at first, and then I realised it didn’t really matter. This post is supposed to be about the images that came from my cameras during 2018, so if anyone out there enjoys seeing what I see, here they are….   The first reasonable Hummingbird image I […]