Archive for March, 2010

Wildflowers

March 27, 2010

Baby blue eyes
Nemophila menziesii

Every year I have looked at the wildflowers, and every year I think I should do more to learn to identify them.

Well, this year I have been so impressed with the display, especially in those areas the fire had destroyed that I have actually gotten out my books, and bought more books, and spent hours on the trails with my camera, and then spent more hours back home with my books and I think I have managed to identify most of what I have seen.

Not always perfectly. I haven’t always checked every tiny detail and I’m quite prepared to believe that I’ve mixed up two similar species. And my books are not perfect either — they have left out species (there are ~50 species of Ceanothis in California but my books describe 4 of them, so at best I can say “That’s a Ceanothus). But I’m pretty happy with the results.

And now, so I won’t forget it when next year rolls around, I have written everything down in a web-site. Because this site only lists flowers that I have actually seen in Santa Barbara, it will (I hope) be easier to use for identification than a book which covers the state, or all of the west coast…

P. californicum
Fire poppy

I encourage everyone to go look at the formerly-burnt trails — or even just walk along Mountain Dr. There are species blooming there which I have never seen before, and others which I have never seen on our trails. It’s beautiful.

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Ducks

March 6, 2010

Ducks are a-dabbling, Up tails all!
Ducks’ tails, drakes’ tails, Yellow feet a-quiver,
Yellow bills all out of sight, Busy in the river!

The Wind in the Willows

I don’t often see ducks in Cold Spring Creek (I can only recall one other occasion). There aren’t many (any?) large pools which would seem conducive to dabbling, and at the moment the stream bed has been scoured clean by all the rains and there is nothing to dabble for.

Nonetheless, after about three and a half hours of running (so I wasn’t at my sharpest), when I teetered over the final stream crossing, I heard a furious quacking, and when I caught my balance and looked up there was a duck paddling furiously up-current to get away from me.

I had just put up my camera and turned to run on down, when there was a whirring noise and I saw a drake come in for landing in the pool downstream from me. Of course, I missed the landing. Sigh.

The duck also noticed the drake, and came down to join it.

And there I left the happy couple.


The only other time I’ve seen a duck there was last April. She had about 10 ducklings with her. I can’t imagine what they ate.