Sunday, December 16, 2007

December Canyon Walk

Joan, Jeff, and I walked the canyon again today. It was a glorious day! Cool and dry. It was so nice to see the plants reviving after the good rain we had last weekend. This Lupine surprised us first of all because it was in bloom in December, but secondly, because it was so lush. But it and the surrounding plants were taking advantage of a run-off spot from the street above. The Lupine was growing in a bed of Nasturtiums that had seeded themselves from a garden above the slope.
I had not brought my camera with me this time and had hung my binoculars around my neck instead hoping to see some early birds. One can only carry so much. But the lovely Lupine plant sent me hustling off to my car to get the camera which was in the trunk. Luckily, it was parked not too far away and since the birds had not gotten really active yet, it being too cool and shady for them still, I traded the binoculars for the camera.

Out of dozens of Purple Sage plants, we found this one lone flower pictured above, but there was new green growth everywhere. The Artemisia was looking much better this time and the California Sunflower was still blooming in places. The only plant that looked in distress was the California Fuschia.

As the sun came out onto the south slope and down into the canyon, so did the birds. Naturally, I now wished that I had my binoculars with me! But I did get a fairly decent shot of this Orange-crowned Warbler. Warblers move very fast, so you are doing good if you catch them at all. He's there, trust me. If you don't see him at first, that's because his yellow-green color camouflages him so well against the leaves of this Mulefat bush. (Actually, this was our first time identifying the Mulefat. Somehow we missed it before.)

The highlight of the morning, however, was this Lupine bush which was gray-green and dry and not at all as lush as the earlier plant we had seen. But it was full of jewel-like caterpillars including these two who were having a tête-à-tête.

In Southern California, spring comes after the rain no matter what month it is.

No comments:

Post a Comment