Nectar Time!

This 30-second video compresses 5 minutes of hummingbirds enjoying their mid-morning nectar. Allen’s Hummingbirds, Anna’s Hummingbirds and Black-chinned Hummingbirds are all represented, along with a quick visit from a female Hooded Oriole.  

It is simply untrue that giving sugar water to hummingbirds is harmful to their health. Whether collecting nectar from flowers or feeders that we put out for them, they need sucrose to fuel their high-speed metabolism.  As for overall nutrition, hummingbirds are insectivores, getting their nutrients from eating spiders and small flying insects.

Native Pollinators

One goal of the GNG is to create a healthy habitat for pollinators, especially native bees.  California has over 1,600 species of native bees that come in many different sizes and adornments.  One of the most common bee families in the world is the small sweat bee Halictidae, with seven species known to inhabit California.

Sweat Bee - Halictus tripartitus

A Mule Deer's New Antlers

This buck’s antlers are now just-fully grown and beginning to harden. We know this because in the last frames of the video you can see a strip of hanging velvet. As deer antlers harden and the velvet dries up, bucks will begin to rub them until all of it is removed.  They will then be ready for challenges from any rival males.

For the most-part grass and brush have been removed from this part of the GNG for fire prevention and protection, but this buck seems to be finding morsels to eat!…

Mule Deer - 11:45pm

Orange-crowned Warbler

Fall warbler migration is just upon us and Orange-crowned Warblers are leading the charge!  A few orange-crowns have been seen recently in the GNG and we expect visits from many other warbler species as summer moves into fall.

Deception in the Garden

A carful walk in GNG may reveal an amazing form of survival.  Many species of animals employ a wide variety of camouflage tactics, and one of these tricks is called background matching.   Background matching is commonly used as camouflage, allowing an animal to blend in with their surroundings. This deception allows prey to avoid predators, and for predators to surprise prey.  In the two images below, color matching and cryptic coloration can be seen being utilized in very effective ways.

Whitebanded Crab Spider - Misumenoides formosipes

Pallid-winged Grasshopper - Trimerotropis pallidipennis

Vivid Dancer Damselflies

The Vivid Dancer is probably the most common damselfly in the Santa Monica Mountains, and at the moment they are abundant in the GNG.  Even though they will ultimately lay their eggs in the upper pond (the lower pond does not have the ecosystem to support their nymphs), they can be found courting in every corner of the garden.

Male Vivid Dancer - Argia vivida

Female Vivid Dancer - Argia vivida

A Regular Nocturnal Visitor

Raccoons are photographed frequently by many of the GNG trail cameras.  The lower pond is a favorite spot for raccoons, and the camera trap set-up here caught this rascal fishing for imaginary critters!

Northern Raccoon – 1:16 am

Juvenile Fence Lizard

Coast Range Fence Lizards breed in the spring, and soon after females lay one to three clutches of around a dozen eggs each.  By mid-summer, these eggs begin to hatch and juvenile fence lizards begin to appear.  Without much effort, many of these young lizards can now be found in the GNG.

Juvenile Coast Range Fence Lizard

Coyote at the Lower Pond

Although we think of Coyotes as being nocturnal, it’s really not that unusual to see one out during the day.  Coyotes are opportunistic feeders  – regardless if it is day or night.  And with so many diurnal California Ground Squirrels roaming the GNG these days, this Coyote may become a frequent daytime visitor!