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May 2020
Nature Never Disappoints

Exploring a dry creek bed, came upon an area rich in nectar-producing plants.
In view are deerweed, white sage, buckwheat.

And where there's nectar, there's pollinator insects.
Native bees like this one, access nectar by boring into the base of
trumpet-shaped flowers like this Sticky Monkeyflower blossom.
There are also predator insects that await the unwary.
This damselfly is also predator. She's got a tiny fly in her mouth.
Beautiful example of a Bernardino Dotted Blue butterfly.
Note its size when compared to the tiny Buckwheat blossom.
Pair of Dotted Blue's getting acquainted.
Whither she goest, he will follow.
A female Great Copper busily nectar-sipping.
But love was in the air for a male Common Buckeye.
She fluttered her wings to drive him away. After all, she was having lunch.
Eventually, he got the message and flew off to a "separate table".
A Common Buckeye and a Great Copper are unsuitable for pairing.
But this male Great Copper is a perfect match.
Picking my way through this area.
I startled a tiny white-footed mouse.
It took off at high speed.
Just as well as there was a 4-foot Kingsnake foraging in the same area.
Lots of CA Buckwheat in various stages of bloom.
Likewise for White Sage.
Female Great Copper on White Sage.
Painted Lady spreads her wings to bask in the morning sun.
(Note the "beauty mark" next to her right eye spot.)
This Northern White Skipper was content basking on the ground.
The extent of the day's wanderings.
To some, "scrub" like this looks dull, uninteresting.
To others, it has a beauty all its own.

3 May 2020
Dry creek bed east of Hwy 25.
Good habitat for a variety of wildlife, including the Western Road Runner.
Keen predators, their diet includes lizards, snakes, small rodents, fledgling birds.
Extremely wary, they'll flee at the sight of humans.
They have been clocked at 15-20 miles an hour.
Tobacco Tree saplings line the creek bed. Introduced from
South America in the 1700s, all parts of the tree are toxic.
However, insects and hummingbirds draw nectar from its flowers with no ill effects.
So out of place in such a harsh environment, our native Sticky Monkeyflower.
Another valuable nectar provider for insects.
California Buckwheat provides essential nectar
for insects when other sources die back.
Common to this area, a Bernardino Dotted Blue.
Hmmm, is this sandstone rock concave? (Nope... It wasn't... Bummer!)
However, during another visit, I found a stone pestle among creek bed rocks.
It's planed on two sides and fits a grip perfectly.
Interesting pattern in a dry side channel.

13 June 2020
Revisiting Tres Pinos Creek
How quickly seasons change.
Lots of California Buckwheat still in bloom.
But White Sage and Deer Weed were no longer blooming.
Not a gossamer wing fluttered anywhere.
Non-native Tree Tobacco were still in flower.
This single Cabbage White was the only butterfly I saw.
Its color pattern indicates it's a summer-marked female.
Lots of small-game trails between seed-bearing plants.
Quail, bush-rabbit, ground squirrel.
Desiccated section of an old Willow tree trunk.
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