Sunday, May 26, 2013

Passion Butterfly Larva

Last season some caterpillars nearly ate two of my passion flower vines.  So this year I'm making an effort to remove these caterpillars as soon as they show up.  Turns our these are Gulf Fritillary or as they are more commonly know Passion Butterfly.  The larvae feed exclusively on species of passion flower.  The spines are soft to the touch and do not sting. However, the larvae are poisonous if eaten, as the bright coloration advertises.

Larva of Gulf Fritillary or Passion Butterfly
So far my passion flower vines are off to a good start and beginning to bloom.

Passion Flower

Passion Flower
A week ago I found three caterpillers and removed them from the vine.  One of them is in the picture on the left.  See how much bigger the one on the right is, this is the one I found today.

The Scrub-Jay knows the caterpillar is poisonous and took only peanuts.

Western Scrub-Jay ignoring the caterpiller
I'll let a few caterpillars stay and transform into a chrysalis and then into a butterfly.  I just won't let them eat the entire vine this year.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sitting on the Balcony

The other evening I was sitting on the balcony and this is what I saw.

Anna's Hummingbird
House Finch

House Finch

Begonia King Cobra


Oak Titmouse 

Anna's Hummingbird

Western Scrub-Jay

Western Scrub-Jay

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Noisy Crow!

This crow sat in one of the peppers trees cawing up a storm.  Juvenile crows are known for making a lot of noise after leaving the nest, as they try to get their parents to feed them.  This one even cawed in flight!

American Crow
American Crow
American Crow

Sunday, May 19, 2013

New additions to my cactus and succulent collection

Earlier in the month we went to the Sunset Succulent Society show & sale in Culver City California.  It's an excellent show and sale full of fine specimens and you can always find something unusual there.  This is the third year I have been there and I always look forward it as it is right next to the La Ballona Valley Bromeliad Society show and sale.  The bromeliad show is great and it makes for a fun day to visit both.  I will post on that one later on the bromeliad show.  Here are some plants that I bought at the sale.

Titanopsis Hugoschlecteri
Mammillaria Theresae from Coneto Pass Durango Mexico
Ortegocactus Macdougalii Oaxaca Mexico
Agave lophantha Quaddricolor
Notocactus scopa "albispinus"

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Black-headed Grosbeaks have arrived

The Black Headed-Grosbeaks have arrived and they have been here for a couple of weeks.  There appear to be about a half dozen pairs coming and going to the bird feeders.  They really like this feeder as it has a mix of premium finch seeds and safflower seeds.

Here is an interesting fact, these are one of the few birds that can safely eat the poisonous monarch butterfly.

Black-headed Grosbeaks, male near the camera and female in the back.

Below is a short video of a male Black-headed Grosbeak flying to the feeder and hanging on for the ride!