With the onset of autumn, things have been a little slow lately in the bird and butterfly department, but it’s still good to get outside and enjoy the delightful weather we’ve been having lately. I’ve been back to Los Poblanos a couple of times this week, hoping for some more good hummingbird pictures. None quite as good as the one last week, but here’s one of a Rufous Hummingbird approaching a Lion’s Tail flower.
These flowers are originally from South Africa and are interesting in having a stalk running through the center of each of the 3 or 4 flowers that are maybe 2 feet apart.
Last week’s Thursday Birder trip returned to Whitfield Wildlife Conservation Area and the Belen Marsh, where we actually saw a fair number of bird species, a few good butterflies, and a couple of other critters. Among the butterflies that morning were Monarchs, a West Coast Lady, Painted and Pearl Crescents, and this Common Buckeye perched on the asters that start blooming this time of year.
Matt pointed out this cool looking caterpillar, but we haven’t yet been able to figure out what it will become.
And then there was this interesting grasshopper. Unlike most of the light brown ones that seem to be everywhere these days, this guy was bright green and had an interesting way of clinging to a perch.
This weekend, I stopped by the Botanic Gardens, and was glad to see the Butterfly Pavilion still had a few butterflies fluttering around, the Dragonfly pond was fairly quiet but will surely be a good stop next summer, the huge Garden Spiders were still about, and an immature Black-crowned Night Heron was skulking in the shadows.
Although I wonder why there are so few butterflies around all those flowers in the garden, there were a few more than I’d seen on earlier visits, including a Monarch, Clouded Sulphur, and this tiny Reakirt’s Blue. It might be that our local butterflies just aren’t attracted to the non-native plants which dominate the garden.
Over by the farm area, several of the artichokes had flowered and were busily attended to by bees.
Some other visitors thought the plants were interesting and asked if I knew what they were. They didn’t seem to quite believe me when I told them they were artichokes and pointed to one that looked pretty obvious. Then they said the flower looked a lot like a thistle, so I explained that yes, artichokes are indeed a type of thistle. Not that I’m any type of expert on any of this, but it didn’t seem that anything I told them sunk in, so maybe they’ll just have to remain mystified.
One of my favorite flowers from my days in Colorado is the Columbine, and I just happened to notice these rather healthy ones blooming behind a bench by the Butterfly Pavilion.