Birds of SoCal

Here in SoCal it’s pretty warm during the day, bugs are out and about and these noisy little birds snapped them out of the air right in front of me. It was daylong entertainment, at least half a dozen birds catching flies and (I think) termites in mid-flight.

Black Phoebe

Scratching on the ground, a few California Towhees make my garden their home. They love their reflection and tap at the window or anywhere they can see themselves.

This was a peaceful first weekend of 2021.

(Some) Creatures Great and Small

With a nod to All Creatures Great and Small by veterinarian James Herriot, this is what my Sunday looked like.

We started off the day at the beach and I’m beyond sad that I didn’t have my good camera with me so I couldn’t capture the magic of a school of dolphin jumping and splashing in the water. I’m sure this paddleboarder was happy because they seemed to follow him wherever he went. Trust me, there are about six dolphin in this photo.

On the way home, we saw a bit of an odd sight…check out these seagulls that shouldn’t have been this far away from the beach. They usually only fly inland when there’s a storm, so I have no idea why they were flying around in circles and then perched on the telephone lines.

Today was a work project day in the garden, cleaning up around the rosemary and lavender. I sat down for a minute for a wheatgrass break and this little alligator lizard stopped by to say hi. I scratched his back with a stick and he allowed me to take these pics.

All in all, a great Sunday for creatures great and small.

Leaves of Birds

Since the ash tree endured its yearly abscission, I raked fallen leaves for the very last time and have been enjoying this disrobed version until late afternoon when I noticed the branches were once again full; not of leaves, but of dozens of happy, chirpy little birds adorning every space.

So completely adorable.

One by one, they flew away, and the tree was once again barren.

To A Mockingbird

He sat for the longest time on a volunteer Brazilian peppertree. The original tree was removed because it’s an invasive species, but also resilient and obnoxious, an aggressive woody weed which displaces native vegetation and rapidly invades disturbed sites.

To A Mocking Bird

The name thou wearest does thee grievous wrong;
No mimic thou: that voice is thine alone.
The poets sing but strains of Shakespeare’s song;
The birds, but notes of thine imperial own.– Henry Jerome Stockard

#WordlessWednesday

A Tragedy: WOLVES DELISTED

As if 2020 couldn’t be any worse with Covid, the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and oh, I don’t know, simply the death of our entire DEMOCRACY, THIS happened and I am truly distraught…

From my friend, Jamie Rappaport Clark, President of Defenders of Wildlife:

It’s a sudden and tragic end to what should have been one of the great wildlife comeback stories of all time. Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially stripped gray wolves in the lower 48 states of their federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.

This ruthless decision leaves gray wolves at the mercy of states, some with increasingly hostile anti-wolf policies – even some where we’ve already seen wolves slaughtered. This isn’t over.

We’re taking this administration to court to defend gray wolves fighting for their lives. Will you help?  

Wolves need your help today. Please make your emergency donation to help fight back to save the lives of wolves and other imperiled animals!

We cannot and will not allow wolves to be abandoned, and their recovery to be cut off after decades of work.  Wolves occupy only 10% of their former range and need continued federal protection to fully recover. There are still vast areas of suitable habitat in the lower 48 states where wolves have not recovered, including Colorado. 

As recently as last year, a wolf spotted in Colorado brought a spark of optimism for the future of wolves in the Southern Rockies.  That hope could now be smashed. Delisting wolves is the wrong move at the wrong time. We’ve already seen a wave of violence as some anti-wolf states have allowed even more barbaric methods to trap, shoot and kill gray wolves – and things could get a lot worse for these wolves without our help. 
Give to Save Wolves
We’ll never stop fighting against anti-wolf extremists and politicians working to turn back the clock on wolf recovery. Today’s setback isn’t the end of the gray wolf story. 

If you agree, please consider pitching in to keep up efforts to save these wolves and protect them across their historic habitat.

Thanks for your compassion and your steadfast support for the wildlife we love.

On a personal note, I’ve been fighting to save and protect wolves pretty much my whole life and while we rejoiced when wolves were originally placed on the endangered species list, it didn’t stop the senseless murder of wolves and their families.

Check out some of my other wolf-related posts:
https://enchantedseashells.com/2013/11/26/saving-wolves/
https://enchantedseashells.com/2013/09/26/actress-jessica-lange-is-amazing-her-letter-in-defense-of-wolves/
https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/03/12/the-sad-song-of-the-wolf/

Help Protect Orcas

https://www.southwhidbeyrecord.com/life/hope-dwindles-as-resident-orcas-disappear/
Time for a post and a plea about animals.
Defenders of Wildlife needs our help to protect southern resident orcas!
Stop a proposal that could allow serious harm to over two thirds of the entire southern resident population of endangered orcas.

A proposed rule from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) would allow Naval sonar activities in the Northwest Training and Testing area to seriously harass up to 51 of these orcas (68% of the entire population!), putting the recovery and even survival of this population in jeopardySouthern resident orcas are still struggling to survive and recover – we can’t let this population go extinct on our watch!

Take a stand: Tell the NMFS to reduce the danger sonar activities pose to the survival of southern resident orcas!

Orcas are the largest member of the dolphin family, and just like their smaller cousins, orcas depend on echolocation to find prey and to communicate with other pod members. With so few salmon left, it’s essential that we reduce underwater noise as much as possible to make it easier for orcas to find the food they need to survive.The ear-splitting shrieks of the sonar can make life nearly impossible for these majestic and vulnerable animals. 

These sonar activities can disrupt critical natural behaviors like feeding, nursing, surfacing, migration and more. These orcas already face dire threats from pollution, collapsing food supplies and climate change. They’re fighting for their lives – but if the NMFS approves this sonar disruption, it could be the threat that pushes them over the brink.

Tell NMFS not to approve the incidental take rule on southern resident orcas in the Northwest Training and Testing Study Area!

Time is running out to save these magnificent whales. Given this population’s already critically endangered status, we need to do all we can to help these orcas – including protecting them from disruptive sonar activity!

That’s a lot of exclamation points, but I love Defenders of Wildlife and hope you’ll help them save the southern resident orcas!!

P.S. For some crazy reason, WordPress is inserting unwanted horizontal lines in my post and I can’t delete them. I give up trying. WP, you baffle me.

Hungry?

Just a hungry scrub jay hanging out on the deck. They LOVE raw peanuts. I still find a few empty shells hidden in the garden nine years later..

One of my favorite photos from September 2011.

First there was one, then another, and for a while, there were about four jays who hung out and let me hand feed them.

Did you know that scrub jays are very intelligent?

From Wiki: Recent research has suggested that western scrub jays, along with several other corvids, are among the most intelligent of animals. The brain-to-body mass ratio of adult scrub jays rivals that of chimpanzees and cetaceans, and is dwarfed only by that of humans. Scrub jays are also the only non-primate or non-dolphin shown to plan ahead for the future (known as metacognition), which was previously thought of as a uniquely human trait Other studies have shown that they can remember locations of over 200 food caches, as well as the food item in each cache and its rate of decay. To protect their caches from pilfering conspecifics, scrub jays will choose locations out of sight of their competitors, or re-cache caches once they are alone, suggesting that they can take into account the perspective of others. According to new research from the University of California @ Davis, scrub jays also summon others to screech over the body of a dead jay. The birds’ cacophonous “funerals” can last for up to half an hour.

#ThrowbackThursday 

To a Butterfly

STAY near me–do not take thy flight!
A little longer stay in sight!
Much converse do I find in thee,
Historian of my infancy!
Float near me; do not yet depart! – Wordsworth

This female Papilio glaucus, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, hung around for about half an hour, leisurely fluttering from one flower to another. I almost felt like paparazzi as I snapped photo after photo of this Lepidopteran celebrity. A little research revealed that the first known drawing of a North America butterfly was in 1587 of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail by John White.

It happened in the front yard this time along the dry river bed.

I was enchanted while she took a rest break on the ground, basically right at my feet, long enough for me to take about fifty more pics.

To a Butterfly

STAY near me–do not take thy flight!
A little longer stay in sight!
Much converse do I find in thee,
Historian of my infancy!
Float near me; do not yet depart!
Dead times revive in thee:
Thou bring’st, gay creature as thou art!
A solemn image to my heart,
My father’s family!
Oh! pleasant, pleasant were the days,
The time, when, in our childish plays,
My sister Emmeline and I
Together chased the butterfly!
A very hunter did I rush
Upon the prey:–with leaps and springs
I followed on from brake to bush;
But she, God love her, feared to brush
The dust from off its wings.


By William Wordsworth (1770-1850)