A hummingbird’s nest is a little work of art. This nest was in a friend’s tree a couple of years ago and I was lucky enough to be able to peek inside and take a picture, complete with little teeny eggs.
When my brother trimmed the cedar tree last month, one of the casualties was a branch with a hummingbird nest attached. The next was not as perfect as the one above, so I pulled it apart to look at the materials the hummer used to build it.
The nest was an interesting mix of dried grass clippings, soft grey material that I think might be spider webs (I’ve read that hummers build their nests with spider webs), and what looks like a bunch of short brown hair! I would love to see how they gather their materials.
Here’s the next best thing: A hummingbird making a nest.
King Kamehamehas I-V, King Lunalilo, King Kalākaua, and Queen Liliuokalani are the famous Monarchs of Hawaii, but I’m talking about the little, quiet Monarchs I’m used to – the butterflies.
We left Molokai on Wednesday and headed to Lanai to stay with friends at their house for a few days. On the way back from the beach, we took the “Happy Dust” (don’t ask me what that means!) road back to the house that was a bit rugged. Deer ran out in front of us a couple of times, but the road was rough so we were going too slow to hit any, thankfully. It was pretty wild out there, but I was surprised to see one of my favorites plants, Milkweed, growing along the side of the road. Not just any milkweed, but – wait for it – Hairy Balls! Lots of it. I found one plant with a caterpillar munching away. I didn’t know Monarch butterflies were on Hawaii! I guess I assumed they were only on the mainland because they have to make the trek to Mexico, but I guess there’s more to these butterflies than I knew. There isn’t a lot of info out there about Hawaiian monarch butterflies, but there is a project underway to figure out what their migration pattern might be. Obviously, they aren’t flying to Mexico, but maybe they are flying interisland. Interesting. Anyway, everyone patiently waited while I jumped out of the truck to get some pictures.
…in my garden. Actually, more precisely, it’s milkweed – Asclepias Physocarpus to be exact.
I was shopping at the Navy Exchange garden shop and saw this plants but I recognized them for their white flowers. I had one of these in my garden last year, having purchased it at the Master Gardener Spring Seminar,where I was told that it was called “Family Jewels” which I thought was because of the dainty white flowers. Between getting eaten down by the caterpillars, and the aphids that took over, the poor plant finally died. I liked the plant for it’s white flowers but didn’t understand why it was named “Family Jewels.” Mystery solved!
Native to Southeast Africa, Hairy Balls Milkweed grows 48″-60″ high. Plant in full sun and treat as an annual. Asclepias physocarpa, aka Gomphocarpus physocarpus, goes by many common names: Swan Plant, Balloon Plant, Cotton-bush, Oscar, Family Jewels, Devil’s Balls, and of course, Hairy Balls, my personal favorite and soooo unlady-like.
The San Diego Audubon Society is hosting a Native Gardening Workshop on Saturday, February 4th, 11th and 18th from 10 am – 2 pm.
Learn how to design a water saving, bird friendly garden in your own yard. Work on projects that you can take home. Learn from experts that work with native plants and garden design. Experience hands on activities to develop your skills and knowledge. The workshop is free.
Participants should come in clothes if you don’t mind them getting dirty, sturdy shoes and wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats. We will provide work gloves, tools, snacks and water.
Please RSVP to Beckywilbanks@cox.netor 760-295-1548. Volunteers under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian.
Can’t make it Sat.? The Anstine-Audubon nature preserve is looking for tour leaders. We need a volunteer or two to help Public relations and marketing! There are other opportunities as well! Please contact Becky Wilbanks at 760-295-1548
The Anstine-Audubon nature preserve is located at 2437 Hutchison Street in Vista, CA 92084.
I’ve got Monarch butterflies flitting all over my yard this week. Sitting on my front porch, it’s a constant back and forth of these little beauties.
I planted more milkweed (Asclepias) to add to the plants that were eaten down to nothing. I found an interesting variety that is two colors, yellow and red. Hopefully, this will seed itself to fill in the area a bit more.
I have watched butterflies laying eggs on the milkplant leaves. The egg sacs are tiny. Hard to believe the circle of life that will come from this little dot!
Monarch egg sac on the under side of a milkweed leaf
Milkweed is a pretty bush and is an asset for any yard. Just think how many butterflies we’d have flying around if everybody had milkweed in their gardens!
We have a visitor. I named it Poindexter. It’s a young possum who probably found our house because of easy access to cat food. I heard it eating on the front porch one night while I was working at my desk. Wow, talk about noisy! Oink. Oink. And the cats don’t seem to care that this rodent is encroaching on their space.
Yesterday I discovered where Poindexter spends his days. I was lounging on my big day bed in the back yard when I heard rustling behind. When I looked up, the staghorn fern looked like it was alive.
At first I thought it was a rat, but when I bravely pulled back some fronds I was greeted by Poindexter’s little face.
Since I was prying too much, Poindexter tried to hide in a better spot without much success. Um, I can see you….
The tail looks and feels scaly like a snake. Eeewwwww!
Poindexter’s escape plan leaves much to be desired but no one ever accused possums of being smart.
All this happened in my front yard yesterday. A very interesting weather pattern rolled through here today and by mid-morning lightning was striking close by every few minutes, followed immediately by growling, cracking and rolling thunder. Rain fell sporadically in big, ploppy drops, enough to give a nice drink to the garden. After listening from [...]
I bought a Milkweed plant at last spring’s Master Gardener Seminar plant sale to try out. The variety I bought is called “Family Jewels,” I’m not sure why, but it has pretty little white flowers which might be interpreted differently if I was a guy, but I digress…. I put the plant in a tub [...]
I was sitting at my desk the other day when I saw something flap and flail out the window. I went outside and found Mr. Coopers Hawk in the front yard. I think he flew in for a snack of little birds at the bird feeders. I’m pretty sure he nailed something as he flew [...]
Have you seen Molly the Owl yet? She’s a barn owl living in San Marcos, taking care of her eggs. The first one just hatched. This live webcam is fascinating to watch! Friends invited me over to see their doves nest. Two babies are getting ready to fly, but they are still looking pretty scrawny. [...]