Selasphorus sasin

We’re delighted to see a hummingbird nesting close by the house, though it means we have to creep past so as not to disturb her. Two years ago, when the lemonadeberry was bigger and closer to the pathway (and thus more easily disturbed), a hummer hatched two babies there, but they died before fledging. We never knew if our presence disturbed the mama too much, or there was some other reason for the fatalities. Fingers crossed for a successful raising this year.

The Allen’s hummingbird constructs her nest out of plant fibers and down, coating it with lichens and spider webs to give it structure. There’s likely one or two eggs, which she will incubate for 15 to 17 days. The young leave the nest about three weeks after hatching, so we might have another month of fun (cautious) viewing.


I am pretty ignorant when it comes to fungi. Fungignorant, you could say. I can’t even decide how to pronounce the word. Fun-guy? Fun-jee? Fun-gee? Funj-eye? How do YOU say it?

iNaturalist suggests this specimen might be in the genus Gymnopus, which contains about 300 species, generally found growing in leaf or woody litter. Seems plausible.

Acmispon glaber

I’ve been looking at a lot of deerweed flowers, and I’m not convinced by the prevailing wisdom about their varying colours. If an individual flower turns orange after pollination, as I’ve often heard, then I would expect to see a more random distribution of orange flowers. But it’s very consistent — the further down the stem, the darker (and more shrivelled) the flower. There are no yellow flowers down low — am I to assume that every single blossom was pollinated? And there are no orange flowers up high — why not? I see bees up high.

It really seems to me that every flower gets darker as it gets older; that it’s age, not pollination, that makes the colour change.


I thought this illustration might be less confronting if I left it black and white. This tidy arrangement, about half the length of my foot, was on the road near our house. I didn’t notice it on my way out for a walk, just on my way back. Could a predator have dragged it there in the middle of the morning, between my two passings? That seems pretty unlikely; I guess I just wasn’t paying attention the first time, even though our road is very narrow. I have so many questions! Who/what/when/where/why?

Cornu aspersum

Click to enbiggen.

We have a LOT of snails at the moment; they especially love the citrus. As I picked them off the trees this morning, I checked the whorl orientation, and yep, they were all dextral. It would be fun to see a sinistral snail! The idea makes the daily removal somewhat more interesting.