June Gloom and Record Breaking Heat
Cloudy gray mornings in the beginning of the month gave way to a heat wave. I was out of town for part of the month. While I had a chance to see some birds at the newly reopened Harbor Regional Park, El Dorado Park and Nature Center, and Santa Fe Dam (where I caught a whiptail lizard pooping!), I spent much of my spare time in my own garden enjoying the buzzing of insects. A friend gave me some buckwheat seeds. They quickly sprouted and bloomed, and have attracted native bees. Leaf-cutter bees were active cutting circles out of leaves to take back to line their nests. I would have loved to find where they flew off to, but had to settle for watching them cut and fly. My front yard was abuzz with wasps and bugs and a few butterflies. One of my favorite wasps is Genus Gasteruption. They look like a flying thread, until they land and you see them up close. They are hard to find and photograph, but they are very bizarre looking. Western red shouldered stink bugs (Thyanta pallidovirens) invaded my yard. I've seen them here once before, but not in these numbers. I don't know if it is same one growing up or different ones, but I found the Mediterranean katydid (Phaneroptera nana).
At my monthly butterfly count in the Santa Ana Mountains, there were lots of 'blues' flying but not as many landing. It is hard to identify them in flight. Although the focus is on butterflies, we had to stop and watch two American Kestrels harass a Red-tailed hawk that was carrying a huge gopher snake, presumably back to a nest to feed its young.
I went up Rt 39 with my friend who volunteers in the San Gabriel Mountains. He has been documenting the nesting eagles. I got a few so-so shots of the family and enjoyed watching them. We proceeded up to Crystal Lake campgrounds for fine chili, the company of a travelling poet, and a glimpse of a gray fox. A fine day it was.
Watch the slideshows or click on the links to look through at your own pace.
Enjoy the show! I always appreciate corrections to ID's.
Local stuff: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/new_jun_2017
Irvine Ranch Butterfly Count: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/irc_jun_2017
Crystal Lake and Rt 39: http://kimssight.zenfolio.com/crystal_lake_june_2017