Wednesday, July 6, 2011

habitat ~ 07/06/11 ~ Frog Pond Wetland Preserve

July 6, 2011

This was a quick stop in a day filled with meetings and appointments. It was nice to get out of the traffic and out of the car to take a deep breath and focus on something outside of what needed to be done. Listening to the sounds of the birds and chasing after damselflies was just the thing I needed to slow down my brain and feel centered.

song sparrow ~ 07/06/11 ~ Frog Pond

I have such a difficult time capturing birds with my point-and-shoot that it's a miracle when I do manage to get a picture that isn't just a blur of feathers or tree limbs. Because of the rarity of my bird photos, my bird identification skills are poor. I'm pretty sure of this ID and am hoping those birders out there will correct me if I'm wrong. According to National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America song sparrow subspecies are highly variable in appearance depending on location. With the dark markings, I'd venture to say this might be M. melodia heermanni, which is found in the central coast of CA. I love the songs of this bird. For a blogger who takes incredible bird photos and occasionally also visits this part of CA, check out Shooting My Universe.

yellow-eyed grass ~ 07/06/11 ~ Frog Pond

There are plenty of small yellow flowers about the size of a quarter coin that superficially look like this one. What caught my attention was the multiples of threes in the petals, stamens, and pistils. Add in the grass-like leaves, and my first thought was it looked like a yellow version of blue-eyed grass. It was a good guess as they're both in the same genus Sisyrinchium. One by one, I'm slowly adding new flowers to my repertoire of those that I recognize. I liken it to learning new vocabulary words in a foreign language.

vivid dancer ~ 07/06/11 ~ Frog Pond

vivid dancer
Argia vivida

To distinguish dancers from bluets, I now know to look for the blue 10th abdominal segment. Thanks, Jim! Then I look for the black triangles on the sides of the middle abdominal segments. Check, check.

Another thing I didn't know until recently is that some female damselflies can be either pale (gynomorphic) or blue (andromorphic). The first time I heard this about damselflies was from Dr. Carin Bondar's Biomusings. She is definitely someone with brains who doesn't mind expressing her female flirtation. I'm impressed by her blog. And, she is well on her way to having 4 children. How does she do it all?