Sunday, October 25, 2009

monarchs ~ 10/25/09 ~ Morro Bay

monarch butterfly
Danaus plexippus

For all those years I camped in Morro Bay State Park as a kid during the summers, I never knew there was a significant monarch overwintering site just behind the campgrounds. It was great to see them for my first time. The overwintering numbers are far fewer than in Mexico, so it's not an obvious tourist attraction. They really are difficult to spot in the eucalyptus trees, but once you know they're there... WOW!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

habitat ~ 10/06/09 ~ Fort Ord - Army Lands

Fort Ord controlled burn - from home
October 6, 2009

You can see where one of my favorite hiking spots is located in relation to home. They seem to do these every year. For a couple days each fall, we have thick smoke and ash in the air. It's not the most fun thing, especially when I was home with a nasty cold and already had a hard time breathing. Cough, hack, choke...

09/01/10 - They've started the annual burns at Fort Ord today. It's been sunny with not much breeze. The smoke plumes don't seem to be as big as shown above from last year.
California ground squirrel
Otospermophilus beecheyi

OK, I'm making a guess as to species. I hate to admit to it, but I'm waiting for this one to be hawk food as it lounges in the sun a mere 20 yards from the hawk's perch.

ps 02/11/10 - In the past week, we've seen this squirrel back on top of the rock staring at us through the office window. I guess it survived the hawk's hunt.

ps 09/02/10 - I incorrectly identified this originally as a western gray squirrel (Sciurus griseus). Now, I think it's a California ground squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

red-shouldered hawk ~ 10/04/09 ~ at home

red-shouldered hawk perched on coast Douglas fir
Buteo lineatus perched on Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii

Fatty-fatty 2x4 couldn't fit through... oops, sorry, but this one is... er... um... plump! As much as I refer to most living things as male (pets: Sam, Fred, Jack, and Max - all female cats, btw; plants: George; and wild animals) this one is so much a female to me. "She" is Henrietta! I've seen her a couple of times on the tree right below our balcony since Sunday and I hope she continues to perch here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009