Sunday, July 30, 2017

Photos of the Week

house wren with bug

A last shot of the house wren that nested in our birdhouse. At this point she was still busy feeding the young ones. The next day they were all gone. It amazes me that one day the young are in the nest being fed, and the next they're out on their own. (Although some birds continue to feed the juveniles even after they've left the nest.) I was hoping to see the young ones but I haven't seen a single house wren since they left.

I'm pretty sure this is another juvenile waiting to be fed. There were three of them hopping around in the bush. You can see the remnants of their bright yellow mouth used to attract the parent's feeding.

juvenile waiting to be fed

I think this was one of the parents. It was also hopping around in the bush making it difficult to get a decent photograph, especially against the bright sky. It looks like it managed to catch a dragonfly (a good trick!) My standing there seemed to make it too nervous to feed its offspring so I moved on.

dragonfly for breakfast

This cute little chipmunk seemed to be quite curious about the world.


Whereas this gopher (Richardson's ground squirrel) seemed more annoyed that I was invading his territory and was giving its high pitched alarm call.

gopher (Richardsons ground squirrel)

The rabbits at Innovation Place are becoming so common and tame that it's no longer much of a challenge to photograph them. This one let me get close enough for a good portrait.


I'm still enjoying the water lilies on the pond.

water lilies

water lily closeup

Some of them almost remind me of exotic sea anemones.

water lily closeup

The water hyacinths are also starting to bloom.

water hyacinth

Off the water, the real lilies are still delightful, especially with a little late afternoon backlight and a nice out of focus green background.


I think these next tiny flowers are one of the native ones we've planted in our garden but I'm afraid I don't remember what they are. They're pretty, even without a name :-)


There are lots of dragonflies around the pond. Not quite so many Bluet damselflies as before, but now a lot of these, which I think are Cherry-faced Meadowhawks.

Cherry-faced Meadowhawk

One morning I rode my bike to work instead of walking and noticed a group of pelicans on a gravel bar. I left my bike in the tall grass and bushwhacked down the bank to where I could get an angle on them. The pelicans can be skittish so I tried to move slowly and stay in the bushes. I just had my little ZS100 (250mm lens) but they let me get close enough. I eventually was out in the open quite near them, but they didn't seem concerned, perhaps because I'd approached slowly enough. Or maybe they were just too busy preening :-)

pelicans on the river

After taking a bunch of photos, and with the pelicans still ignoring me, it occurred to me to take some video (which I don't often do). Although they weren't doing much, it was fun to watch see them preen and two of them turn their heads around to tuck their long bills under their wings to sleep.

I was walking by some long grass and out of the corner of my eye I noticed something on one of the blades of grass. Usually it's nothing, but you never know, so I checked it out and found it was an interesting looking spider eating a small moth. (There was also some sort of cocoon above it which I'm not sure was related to the spider.)

spider eating moth

I enjoy searching for the fishing spiders whenever I go by the pond. Sometimes they're easy to spot, other times they are quite well hidden. I think these are six spotted fishing spiders, but that refers to spots on their underside, not the more numerous ones on their back.

fishing spider

Here's a female carrying its egg sac.

fishing spider with egg sac

Since I've been observing the fishing spiders for the last few years, I've only ever spotted the nursery webs half hidden on the concrete wall of the pond. But in the last week I've spotted four of them built more or less in the open on the reeds. Maybe I've just never noticed them there before, but they seem so obvious I'm not sure how I'd miss them.

fishing spider nursery web

You can see the empty egg sac at the bottom of the photo. All the little tan spots are baby spiders. It's easy to see how the nursery web protects them, but I wonder what they eat at this stage? Maybe each other? Or nothing? Maybe they're just letting their skin dry out and harden ready for the outside world. They don't seem to stay in the web long, a day or two later and it will be abandoned. I never spot the babies outside the nursery - they're too small. (They are around though - looking at one of my photos of a large female, when I zoomed in on the computer I could see a tiny baby nearby.) I rarely even see the males which are about 1/3 the size of the females. I wonder if the females are out sunning (and therefore I see them) because the warmth helps the development of their eggs.

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