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Archive for the 'Spring' Category

Spring: Western fence lizards enjoy California poppies in Shell Ridge Open Space

Western fence lizard, soaking up the sun and enjoying the spring poppies. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
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Spring has sprung …  and western fence lizards are enjoying the California poppies in the Shell Ridge Open Space in Walnut Creek, California.

Thanks, Brian Murphy of Walnut Creek, for noticing that!

OK, everyone, time to make a sandwich, fill up a plastic water bottle … and go for a walk! The California poppies await you … /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
Under: Spring, Western fence lizard | No Comments »

Springtime arrives in a local backyard, along with a pair of raccoons

Springtime in a local backyard. Photo by Linda Bowman, Fremont, CA
1coons linda bowman fremont

Here are a pair of young lovers after they consummated their relationship on our back lawn one morning. After mating they cleaned themselves up completely and headed for the edge of our pool to give me this shot.
Linda Bowman, Fremont, California

Spring is definitely in the air. And now for a dip in the pool … /Gary

Posted on Monday, March 5th, 2012
Under: Breeding season, Raccoons, Spring | 1 Comment »

Gasp! Can it really, finally, be spring?

A swallowtail sipping a flower. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
1swallowtail dave harper oakley

Oh, my! Does the above photo — recently taken locally in the S.F. Bay Area —  really mean it’s finally spring? Dare we hope?

The tomatoes my wife and I planted a week ago are just standing there in the middle of one of our garden boxes, shivering.

Cross your fingers! (Sorry, tomatoes!) /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
Under: Butterflies, Spring | No Comments »

Bay Area snakes starting to crawl around looking for spring

Rubber boa in garden. Photo by Ken Chainey, Richmond, CA
r boa2 ken chainey richmond

We were delighted (and surprised) to find a rubber boa stretched across our garden path yesterday.  Although we have had periods of warm weather, that day was rather cool.  He tolerated being photographed at close range, occasionally flicking his black tongue.  He either was more interested in being stealthy than inquisitive, or else he was too cold to take action.  Eventually he slid into the ivy.  Is this too early for it to be out?  Or is this species more active than other snakes in cool weather?
Enjoying Spring antics,
Marina Chainey, Richmond, California
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Posted on Friday, March 11th, 2011
Under: Rubber boa, Spring | 3 Comments »

Spring on Mount Diablo. Isn’t it beautiful?

Spring on Mount Diablo. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek

Spring is my favorite time of year on Mount Diablo. Everything is so beautifully GREEN!

In fact spring is my most favorite time EVERYWHERE. That’s why I’m leaving on vacation for the next two weeks so I can enjoy the different shades of green I’ll find in the different places I plan to visit.

I’ll be back on Monday, March 16. While I’m gone, here’s something to remember:
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, February 27th, 2009
Under: Mount Diablo, Seasons, Spring | No Comments »

Spring on Mount Diablo, a beautiful island in a sea of green

Another note from my friend Brian:

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s Spring!

There is an unusually spectacular display of California poppies along Northgate Road to brighten up your trip up Mount Diablo, with other wildflowers soon to follow. (Brian in Walnut Creek, CA)

Brian’s point is well taken. Get thee up beautiful Mount Diablo this weekend so you can stand on top and look around and be overwhelmed by the roiling sea of green foothills lapping at your feet in all directions.

Take your time on the way down so you can enjoy the wildflowers. Spring only happens once a year, you know, so you don’t want to miss anything! /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
Under: Spring, Wildflowers | No Comments »

Spring and totem poles

Dear Gary:
Since early last fall, I’ve had a pair of white-tailed kites hanging around in the tops of our redwood trees. I’ve watched them fly and hover, but the other day they did something I’ve never seen before.
Three of them landed one on top of the other. A three-kite totem pole. (Betty Stark, Antioch, CA)

Posted on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006
Under: Spring, wild birds | No Comments »

Spring in the old backyard

Looks like we’re going to have sunny days and 70-80 degree daytime temperatures for the next week. This will be the longest period of warm sunny days I’ve seen since the rains started at the beginning of winter. Dare I hope that spring has FINALLY arrived? I know the wild creatures that live in my backyard certainly feel that way.

A pair of Anna’s hummingbirds are busy courting in the skies above my yard. Probably getting ready to raise their (her!) second nest full of youngsters this year. The female is sitting on a tiny twig in the top of our apple tree, as the male zooms straight up for about 150 feet, then drops straight back down in a power dive and zips sideways at a 90-degree angle just inches above the female and curves back up for another attempt at the same maneuver. He did this three times in as many minutes, never missing a beat. Wow. I think he likes her. The nest is somewhere in my middle redwood tree. It’s so well camouflaged I haven’t been able to spot it.

I saw the skunk last evening, making his (her?) usual twilight trip through my yard. (Through the hole under my fence on the right side, trop, trot, trot across the patio and then under the redwoods and through the hole under the left side fence.)

Next came the mama opossum. I think she uses the same fence hole to pass through my yard.

Then the gray cat from next door, the black cat from across the street, and the striped cat from I have no idea where. They came over to sniff my catnip patch and get drunk and NOT use my yard for a litter box and then stagger back home to sleep it off until tomorrow’s trip. Hey, the catnip patch has worked for four years, now, and Lois and I can garden without digging up cat poop! Try it, you’ll like it.

Looks like I’m going to need street signs to control the traffic, though.

Posted on Wednesday, April 26th, 2006
Under: Seasons, Spring, Yard | No Comments »

A wild afternoon

Lois and I had a great time at the Orinda School District’s 5th Annual Wildlife Festival on Sunday. The Festival was held at the District’s Nature Area next to Wagner Ranch Elementary School. It was a beautiful, breezy (but warm) afternoon and the air was filled with sweet spring smells as whole families of parents and children came pouring out of their homes to enjoy the activities.

Native Birds Connections brought some of their beautiful birds of prey, Wild Birds Unlimited had displays, Malcolm Margolin was there to chat and sell (or give away, you know Malcolm!) books from Heyday Books in Berkeley, there were local Native American dancing and drumming performances, and the district’s 4th and 5th grade student band(s) serenaded us with some great music. And MANY thanks, of course, to Orinda School District Naturalist Toris Jaeger for creating it, pulling it all together, and making it work (as always). She’s the best. (The district Nature Area is truly a treasure. What a special, natural place to teach the young people about the world that swirls and grows around them! Truly unique.)

I just sat at my table or wandered around checking our Brian Murphy’s new bumble bee nest boxes, and chatted with visitors and answered their animal questions.

A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon: enjoying the fresh spring weather, talking with nice people, and holding hands with my wife. That’s as good as it gets.

Posted on Monday, April 24th, 2006
Under: Seasons, Spring, Wildlife | No Comments »