Saturday, June 30, 2012

Goodbye June

June Gloom is a southern California term for a weather pattern that results in cloudy, overcast skies with cool temperatures during the late spring and early summer. June Gloom in southern California is caused by the marine layer effect common to the West Coast, and is enhanced by the Catalina eddy local to southern California. May and June together are usually the cloudiest months in coastal Southern California.

A typical June Gloom day consists of marine stratus clouds covering the coast of southern California, extending a varying distance inland depending on the strength of the June Gloom effect each day. The fog and clouds, which are formed by the marine layer, move in at night, usually after midnight, and typically dissipate in the late morning, giving way to clear, sunny skies. During a heavy June Gloom season, the condition may persist into the afternoon, or even all day during an exceptionally strong event. If the air is saturated with moisture, fog also may develop with June Gloom. Early mornings during June Gloom are typically foggy, with frequent light mist and occasional drizzle. Fog and drizzle normally are found near the furthest inland extent of the gloom, where the cloud deck is closest to the ground. The fog recedes and reveals low clouds by mid-to-late morning; by late morning to early afternoon, solar heating usually is sufficient to evaporate the clouds altogether.

Last day of June means the end of June Gloom, right?

Bring on the sun!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Quiet Amongst the Crowds

One of my favorite places in all of San Diego is at the San Diego Zoo.  This is Fern Canyon Trail.  

You won't see any animals here (well, maybe some "tourists").   In fact, we saw a mother mallard duck and her little babies!\ on this last trip!

But generally, no animals.  

Including the 2-legged type.  


Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Gift From Joan Kroc

On March 26, 1988, Tiger River, the Kroc Family Tropical Rainforest exhibit, opened at the San Diego Zoo.  It was funded in large part by a personal gift from Joan Kroc.

The Zoo has grown and changed a lot since 1988.  The Kroc exhibit is still there, sort of.  You can find this sign sort of hidden away in the Lost Forest, if you are walking uphill, which most Zoo patrons don't.

The Zoo's new exhibits are always fantastic.   However, though you have to move with the times, it is nice to have a little piece of the past sometimes.

Thanks Joan!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Old School Zoo

One of the oldest places at the San Diego Zoo, the Snake building.  It was built by the US WPA in 1936!

I'd avoid it if you don't like snakes, but if you don't, it is worth the effort to head in that direction.  Some of the snakes are pretty cool.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Very Advanced Animal

This guy is an okapi.  He looks like he might be related to a zebra, but actually, his closest relation is the giraffe.

He is found only in central Africa, and was not "discovered" by the Western world until the twentieth century.

This was always our son's favorite animal at the zoo (though his older sister believed it was too advanced for him - he should like a horse instead)!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Seen at the San Diego Zoo

We walked around the San Diego Zoo recently.  The Zoo is one of my favorite places to walk (except on super-busy days when we have to share the park with people who think they should be able to smoke anywhere and rude 12 year old children who don't know the difference between a warthog and a hippo.... but I digress...).

I've always thought zebras were pretty interesting.  They are kind of like an optical illusion in nature.

A few zebra facts I learned from the Zoo:

  • Each zebra has its unique stripe pattern—like human fingerprints.
  • Zebras take dust or mud baths to get clean. They shake the dirt off to get rid of loose hair and flaky skin. What's left protects them from sun, wind, and insects.
  • Zebras have their own “smile”—a bared-teeth grimace that is a greeting and helps prevent aggression.
  • Zebras are attracted to black-and-white stripes. Even if stripes are painted on a wall, a zebra will tend to go stand next to it!
  • A zebra's eyesight at night is thought to be about as good as that of a cat or an owl.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Quick Pit Stop for an Anna's Hummingbird

Time to stop for a drink.

That tastes good!

Are you watching me?

Thinking about taking some of my snack?

I'm coming to get you!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

At the Farmer's Market

A Farmer's Market recently opened in our neighborhood.  We visited and met George and Cora, the owners of Dutch Farmers.  They came to this country in 1994 and started a nursery,  In 2008, they battled cancer in their family and decided to start growing organic produce.

Here are some of the results:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Seen on our evening stroll....

Lots and lots of these guys.

I think they might be Lopidea, but if anyone knows differently, I'd be happy to know what they really are.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Color in the Backyard

Like most of southern California, the majority of San Diego's current area was originally occupied by chaparral, a plant community made up mostly of drought-resistant shrubs.

Chaparral is mostly brown. Except for sometimes in March when we have our rainy season.

Because of this, most of the native birds are brown, so that they can camouflage themselves.  Lots of sparrows, modestly colored finches... all mainly brown.

Except for this guy - the Western Scrub Jay.  Not quite as flamboyant as his cousin, the Blue Jay, but he's the most colorful guy in our backyard.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Toto, I Don't Think We're In Kansas Anymore

Not that we were ever in Kansas.  

But, we are also not in San Diego anymore either.  At least for one day.

On the Summer Solstice, I thought it would be interesting to show a few pictures of a place that gets a lot of attention this time of year.

We visited Stonehenge just before the Spring Equinox this year.  We had an amazing early morning tour, wherein we were able to go beyond where visitors are normally allowed, and walk up amongst the stones.  

This arch was put in place 5,000 years ago.  Gives one something to contemplate.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Busy Lizard

This guy, a Southern Alligator Lizard, is one of the more aggressive guys in our yard.  Most of the lizards and geckos will run the other way when they see people, but these guys?  They stand up to us.  

They're not very big, but they are gutsy.

And busy.  He spent the whole afternoon digging in the cocoa mulch covering the rose beds.

And giving me that look that was saying "Get out of my backyard!"

Monday, June 18, 2012

Another Backyard Denizen

OK, this guy scared the daylights out of me.  Well, startled the daylights out of me anyway.  And I am pretty sure the feeling was mutual.

He didn't want to have his picture taken.  I followed him around with the camera and he kept moving (spoiling my pictures!) making this one the best I could get.

This two-stripe gartersnake was long (over 3 feet) but harmless.  At least to me.  If I were a snail or a slug I'd be in trouble.  Since I am not, this guy is welcome in my garden anytime!

Though if he'd announce himself, clear his throat or something so I'd know when he was there, I'd be appreciative.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Built By a Wren

Not quite St. Paul's Cathedral (Christopher Wren's creation) but built by a wren nonetheless, and more useful for this little guy who is currently residing in my backyard.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Friday, June 08, 2012

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Venus Transits the Sun

Can you see the little dot on our pinhole camera view of the sun?

It's pretty small.  I enlarged the sun (!) and changed the color temperature to make it slightly easier to see.  Venus is the tiny dot at about 4:00.

Maybe you would enjoy shadows of the recent solar eclipse through our maple leaves instead.  :-)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Monday, June 04, 2012

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Friday, June 01, 2012