Thursday, June 24, 2010

These hummingbirds wish to remain...

anna's hummingbirdAnonymous;-) I wind up with a lot of shots like these when I take hummingbird pictures. Even though the faces are obstructed (or not visible at all), I still think they're kind of cool, so decided to share. Hope you enjoy this little series, too (a bit prettier than my last post!).

flying hummingbird
hummingbird flying
anna's hummingbird in flight
anna's hummingbird, cape honeysuckle

Thursday, June 17, 2010


pesticide sign, danger
I took this photo from my bedroom window today, because I wanted to see what the sign said (and now I know the chemical this time: Lorsban, will be reading about it). The lens I use is 55-250mm, and this was taken at 240mm. I'm not so great at math, but maybe someone else will be able to tell how many feet away this is. Not very many, I know that. Close enough that we most definitely get spray drift here. There are times when we get physically sick when they're spraying, because the fumes are so strong coming into our home.

So, here you have this sign telling people not to enter the orchard for 7 days because of the pesticide they used. Below are two photos taken earlier this year, that show what it looks like when they're spraying. I've kept our awning support in for perspective - these photos were taken at 179mm and 96mm.

There are other orange groves and orchards (and a whole host of vegetables and grapevines) that are even closer to homes. They all get sprayed regularly by the same sort of equipment with the same chemicals.

This isn't the first time I've written about the problems here. This is the first time I've seen the "Danger" sign where I can read it, though, and I just wanted to post it, because I really don't understand how this can be happening. The crops here are far more important than the people. In fact, our neighbor told us, the sprayers used to spray right over them while they were working. They have a myriad of health problems now...

You can say that people shouldn't be living here. While I might agree because this is really the desert and wasn't meant to sustain this agriculture in the first place, I will say that where we live here was established long before these orange groves. However, apparently the oranges are worth more than the people, the animals (the hummingbirds who live in the orchards), and the environment.

I still don't know what to do in the face of a billion dollar business that controls a whole area. Doesn't anybody care about the future? About what else they're poisoning besides the "pests"? Danger, indeed...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


anise swallowtail butterfly

"Keep on Keepin' on!"

I took these photos last week, while watering our plants. This beautiful Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon) came over, and actually stayed for a bit. You can see from the first photo just how gorgeous s/he was - looks perfect, right? Well, this beautiful butterfly had a secret that wasn't obvious at first glance, with the rapid movement of the wings. I kept thinking something didn't look right, and finally realized that a good portion of the wings on the other side were torn off - as you can see in the bottom photo. I have no idea of the thought processes of a butterfly, all I know is that it has to be extremely difficult to fly with so much of your wings missing. Yet, this butterfly was bound and determined, and was flying all over. S/he didn't know to give up - a powerful message, no matter who or what delivers it:-)

There is probably no better deliverer of that message than Nick Vujicic in the video below. I'd seen him online before, but it had been a while. This video was at the bottom of a recent Cheryl Richardson newsletter, and I'm so glad I clicked to see what it was!

The words in this video really resonate with me - heck, it brings me to tears each time I watch it. It's all in how we see things, isn't? Determination and appreciation are beautiful things.

anise swallowtail injured wings


Monday, June 7, 2010

Back to the Birds!

Okay, I've been bad about blogging again, even though I have tons of photos to share. No excuses, just going to get back to it:-) So, here's a little bird journey to get things started again...

acorn woodpecker nesting

"Peek A Boo!" First is an Acorn Woodpecker peeking out of the nest hole. I could hear the babies inside:-) This parent kept a wary eye on me, though I couldn't get too close, because the tree was off the road and down a little incline. It's amazing that they can fit through such a small hole!

lark sparrow

Next, "Snacktime" is a Lark Sparrow who landed as we were coming up the road - lucky catch for him and for me!

western bluebird

"Mrs. Bluebird", a female Western Bluebird we chanced upon. They're such beautiful birds, aren't they?

western meadowlark

"Sun on My Back" is a Western Meadowlark. We think s/he is pretty young, judging by the feathers (which also look wet), and the fact that s/he stayed for so long with a car right alongside. This was actually on the opposite side of the road from me, so I was doing a contortion act to try and get some photos:-)

scrub jay

"Open Communication" - Believe it or not, as common as Scrub Jays are around here, this is the first decent shot I've gotten. They usually fly off at the least disturbance - funny, since they're such precocious birds!

turkey vulture

"Tough!" - Last, but most certainly not least, is this Turkey Vulture. While Turkey Vultures are also common, they don't usually sit on the fence posts as we're driving past, lol! This one allowed us to get quite close. We think there was something they were dining on out in the field on the other side of the fence, so s/he didn't want to leave. Unfortunately, this was the wrong side of the light, but I couldn't exactly get out and change things;-) Still can't believe how this big bird is balanced on that post. Even more amazing, s/he was first balanced around a t-post on the wire - ouch!

Hope you've enjoyed this journey - stay tuned, more to come, I promise:-)