Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Creatures of Summer

Summer meanders through hot days and warm windless nights. A new visitor appears against the screen in the bathroom. It is a chocolate looper, identifiable by its rich brown color and the distinctive white spot on its wings. The book claims it looks like a “man’s slipper;” a perfect example of how one person’s perception can become attached to a creature for decades. It doesn’t look like a “man’s slipper” to me. Who wears slippers?

A native moth, the chocolate looper should have been outside feeding from one of our native plants. We found two and released both back into the night.

The baby birds have all hatched and left their nests, but there are still new babies appearing. Sitting in the morning sunshine, someone new has appeared in the garden. Can you see it in this picture? Look closely right in the center of the picture at the top edge of the cement bricks, just to the right of the seam. This baby is only about the size of your little finger.

It’s a young Western fence lizard. We’ve had two pairs of adult fence lizards this year. The pair living closest to the house appears to have been successful in producing at least one youngster.

Western fence lizards are a boon to the garden. Find out why they are Superheros.

We’ll be watching for this little guy as he grows up.

As evening creeps across the hillsides and the freeway traffic drones, a desert cottontail wriggles under the fence and feeds on the grass that I was thinking about pulling. I’d rather watch him eat it.

Allen's and Anna's hummingbirds race to visit the nectar feeders one more time before bed and the hooded oriole has returned for a late snack. (See the Allen's hummingbird family)

As the evening sky darkens, two big brown bats swoop and circle through the streetlight glow, snacking on a variety of insects. Bat Video.

Bats consume mosquitoes and moths and other insects all night long. Perhaps that’s why the chocolate loopers took refuge in the house.


Anonymous said...

Seeing more of the usually more hidden animals out in public spaces, too -- a coyote crossing De Soto from Pierce college to a business park across the street at 1:30 a.m., and a doe and fawn in the Sepulveda Pass at the height of rush hour.


Henry Walloon said...

Moths and lizards.
What a wonderful combination for a blog posting!
Great work Keri.