I am pretty sure this is a northern one but I should have taken a pic of its belly.
The pepperwoods are a-popping.
This is either really late or early to be in bloom.
Saw this one flying over a large area.
Juvenile found dead on road. I moved it off the road so it wouldn't be hit again and to get a better pic.
Crazy warm weather confusing many plants and animals.
I thought this was a pretty shot with the colors of the trees being so much like the grapes.
I am hoping this is the first of many ant pictures due to the fact that Wendy Jones and I are starting to do a survey of the ants found on Pepperwood.
These ants are harvester ants. I saw this group collecting seeds for three days and probably more. I had trouble getting a picture since everyone was moving along so quickly. I noticed this one ant going pretty slowly and stopping every so often. Another ant that was not carrying a seed kept bumping into this one as if to get her to keep working. This one found a small indentation where she could stop and no one tried to get her to move along until someone finally did (second pic) and she headed toward the nest.
I learned later that the ants that go out looking for food are the oldest ones so they are of less use to the nest as a whole. It made me sad to think this one was probably not going to live for much longer (workers live about two to three months).
I was hoping to see some birds, but they were not there when we were. It is speculated that the birds put the acorns in the granaries for a number of different benefits. They are stored for a time when food is scarce, keeps it away from other animals that are interested in them for food and possible the meat of the acorn breaks down which makes it easier to eat. Also, insects can get into the acorn and then the birds get to eat them too. Many of the acorns have holes ( as in the third picture) where, I guess, insects have gotten inside, so I think that this idea is maybe a good one.
These plants are blooming early and producing seed quickly with the warmer than average temperatures.
It looks like all the seeds have gone away by the time I took these pictures.
I heard the call of a pileated so grabbed my camera and found this one across the street on an oak tree and then eating grapes.
A couple birds were working the bottle-brush plants.
I am thinking Cicada because of the body type and translucent wings. I am also thinking female because of the non frilly antenna which are laid back along the body.
It wasn't making any sounds while I was observing it.
I was taking wood off a pile to split it and was glad I was being cautious when I saw this guy. It is 12 to 13 inches long.
These lizards (one mature and the other quite young) were seen catching the last of the suns warmth on a cinder block post.
I was out with Wendy Jones on our first observations regarding a project to survey the ants of Pepperwood and found these guys. It looked like the ones we saw had invaded another nest and were taking all that was good to eat back to their own nesting site.
Since we are new to the world of ants, we can't ID them at this time.
The first pic is the ants on the trail home, the second is their place located under the deck at Bechtel House and the third is the invaded nest with two entrance holes.
I think this is the first time I have seen a praying mantis at Pepperwood.
At first we thought this little guy (about 11 inches) was dead until it decided to move along.
We found this guy (I think it is a male because of the feathery antenna) in a pot below a light. The pictures are fuzzy because it was moving around quickly before it managed to fly back out.
While watching Vaux's swifts gathering and then roosting in the academy's chimney I saw a Merlin fly through the flock of swifts several times and it looked like it may have made a kill a couple times.
While waiting for the Vaux's swifts to gather and roost in the chimney, I observed the largest gathering of turkey vultures I have ever seen. There were 45 to 50 birds soaring in the sun-setting sky. I saw a hawk, probably a Merlin, attack some of the vultures, though not too energetically it seemed to me.
I went to the Rio Lindo Academy in Healdsburg, CA to watch the Vaux's swifts flying into the chimney at their steam plant. I first saw the birds in 2008 when there were an estimated 20,000 birds which was the most observed on any year. This year there were maybe six to eight thousand by my guess. I will add more information if I get a better guess.
One hawk which it was agreed by the people there to be a Merlin, was seen going after the swifts. I noticed for the first time that when the predator flew into the flock that the swifts would fly at the bigger bird to chase it away.
This large lizard was out getting some sun and was willing to stay in place long enough for a pic.
This was the first time I was able to get a picture of one of the turtles found at this pond.
We saw these beetles around the coyote bushes. If you look at the one on my arm you can see the horizon with the trees below and the sky above (it works better that way) reflected on the beetle's shell.
I think I saw that the inner sides of the wings were light blue, but I am not sure due to how fast it flew around and immediately closed up its' wings. We were in the Rogers area.
I looked at bunch of blue butterflies and didn't come up with anything that I thought was a match.
We saw a large population of these plants on a south facing slope with only a few flowers present.
While digging up some dirt I kept seeing orange rubbery things and didn't know at first it was from the poppies that had come and gone at that spot. I didn't know poppies had orange roots. The color was much brighter than it seems in the pics.