Anza Borrego: Galleta Meadows Sky Art

Grasshopper and Scorpion Pair

Grasshopper and Scorpion Pair

Infrared Grasshopper

Infrared Grasshopper

Infrared Scorpion

Infrared Scorpion

Merriam's Tapir

Merriam’s Tapir

Infrared Desert Landscape

Infrared Desert Landscape

Giant Tortoise

Giant Tortoise

African Elephant

African Elephant

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep

Gold Miner and His Mule

Gold Miner and His Mule

Willys Jeep

Willys Jeep

Sand Verbena

Sand Verbena

Flowering Opuntia Cactus

Flowering Opuntia Cactus

Epic Desert Flower Bloom in Spring 1998

Epic Desert Flower Bloom in Spring 1998

Every time we visit Anza Borrego Desert State Park, California, we always make time to see more of Ricardo Breceda’s metalwork creations at Galleta Meadows.  He carefully considers the placement of each statue in the landscape for best effect.  New “Sky Art” is constantly being added to the desert plain.  A driving tour map is at: http://www.galletameadows.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52&Itemid=69.   Previous posts about the sculptures are at: https://naturetime.wordpress.com/?s=galleta

Purple Martin Babies are Hatching!

Three Purple Martin Eggs in Nesting Gourd

Three Purple Martin Eggs in Nesting Gourd

Six New Hatchlings

Six New Hatchlings

Close-up of Hatchlings (love the bird lips!)

Close-up of Hatchlings (love the bird lips!)

Six Babies in Leaf-Lined Nest

Six Babies in Leaf-Lined Nest

Six Hatchlings Starting to get Pin Feathers

Six Hatchlings Starting to get Pin Feathers

Hatchling Face

Hatchling Face

Hatchling Wanting Fed

Hatchling Wanting Fed

Adult Male Purple Martin on Top of Nesting Gourd

Adult Male Purple Martin on Top of Nesting Gourd

Adult Female Martin Diving into Gourd

Adult Female Martin Diving into Gourd

Frog Hiding in Martin Pole Pulley Rope

Frog Hiding in Martin Pole Pulley Rope

Our purple martin babies are hatching! We currently have 11 nests containing 54 babies and 3 eggs – our highest season total ever! It is such a joy hearing the martins’ cheerful songs, along with constant feeding activity in and out of the gourds. The hatchlings are so young that they haven’t even opened their eyes yet. A frog was hiding in the martin pole pulley rope when we lowered the gourds for health inspection. If the babies have mites, we change the nesting material for good health. Love this time of year!  Our previous posts about purple martins are at:  https://naturetime.wordpress.com/?s=martins

Beautiful Deer Visits Yard

Deer Hello

Deer Hello

Deer Eating Corn for Turkeys

Deer Eating Corn for Turkeys

Deer Portrait

Deer Portrait

What a nice surprise out our home office window – a beautiful deer was walking around our yard!  She had wandered in since I had left the gate open.  I had been hoping to get a picture of a deer in our area, because our neighborhood is called “Deer Run”. She is expecting, so maybe we’ll see a little fawn soon!

Florida: Pink Spoonbills are Nesting!

Goodwin Marsh

Goodwin Marsh

Rookery Island

Rookery Island

Spoonbill Landing on Nest

Spoonbill Landing on Nest

Young Spoonbill Being Fed

Young Spoonbill Being Fed

Close-up of Feeding Time

Close-up of Feeding Time

Young Spoonbill Takeoff

Young Spoonbill Takeoff

Adult Spoonbill Flying by Fledgling

Adult Spoonbill Flying by Fledgling

Colorful Adult Spoonbill Flying

Colorful Adult Spoonbill Flying

Meadowlark Singing at Marsh

Meadowlark Singing at Marsh

It is spoonbill nesting time here in Florida.  Love those beautiful pink birds!

Best Caterpillar Ever!

Photographing the Tersa Sphinx Moth Caterpillar

Photographing the Tersa Sphinx Moth Caterpillar

Horizontal View of Caterpillar

Horizontal View of Caterpillar

Front View of Caterpillar

Front View of Caterpillar

Eye Spots of Caterpillar

Eye Spots of Caterpillar

This past weekend I was working in the flower garden and found this Tersa sphinx moth caterpillar under our tapioca bush. Sphinx/hummingbird moths come out at dusk to drink flower nectar. They especially love pentas. I couldn’t get over the realistic eye spots on the caterpillar – I think it was pretending to be a snake so that birds wouldn’t eat it. It had gold spots on its body, along with delicate shades of pink and blue.  After taking pictures, and I carefully placed it back outside exactly where it was when I found it. What a spectacular caterpillar!

Space Station on a Starry Night!

Space Station Trail in Night Sky

Space Station Trail in Night Sky

Starry Night Sky with Constellation Orion (middle) and Bright Planet Venus (upper right)

Starry Night Sky with Constellation Orion (middle) and Bright Planet Venus (upper right)

Space Station Track (Yellow Line) by Our House (Blue Dot)

Space Station Track (Yellow Line) by Our House (Blue Dot)

Long Exposure to Capture Owl Hunting in Dark

Long Exposure to Capture Owl Hunting in Dark

The International Space Station tracked right by our house last night in Palm Bay, Florida! It moves FAST! ! Other evening sightings included tree frogs on the window, raccoon and babies under the tree, armadillo looking for bugs, and owl hunting from a favorite perch by the pond (her sudden whinny behind me was surprising!). 

Art Meets Science: Color Changing Flowers

Pink Petunias

Pink Petunias

Purple and White Petunias

Purple and White Petunias

Flowers are currently being developed that change color either throughout the day or on demand – a meeting of art and science. Based on circadian rhythms, your pink petunias in the morning would change to purple flowers by afternoon. Or based on watering, your petunias would change from white to pink to purple within 24 hours. Petunias in the past have played a critical role in the study of RNAi and its potential impact on the treatment of human disease (which led to a Nobel prize in 2006).  Flowers have been cultivated and bred for centuries, and this is one more way to increase man’s pleasure from plants.  More info is at: http://www.idtdna.com/pages/decoded/decoded-articles/your-research/decoded/2015/03/03/color-changing-flowers-biotechnology-for-everyone?utm_source=IDT+Customers&utm_campaign=52f1f391f7-DECODED_031015_test3_4_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9f34f28ea2-52f1f391f7-223792633&goal=0_9f34f28ea2-52f1f391f7-223792633

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