Peritoma arborea

I should try to get bladderpod established on our block. It’s apparently easy to grow from seed (and readily self-seeds). It‘s drought-tolerant and fire-retardant, and it attracts native bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. And deer don’t eat it.

The only downside is that it hosts the harlequin beetle which can be a serious pest on brassicas, which I do like to grow in the veggie garden. I wonder how far apart that two kinds of plants would have to be, for this to not be a problem? Hmm, this warrants some further research.

Oxyura jamaicensis

A new-to-me waterbird at Legacy Park! I was delighted by the bright blue bill on this male ruddy duck.

I’ve read that ruddy ducks are very aggressive toward each other and toward other species, but this fellow was behaving peacefully. Apparently they will even chase rabbits feeding on the shore. During courtship, males beat their bill against their neck hard enough to create a swirl of bubbles in the water. Pretty intense!

The genus name Oxyura is derived from Ancient Greek oxus meaning “sharp”, and oura meaning “tail”. Ruddy ducks were imported into the UK in 1948 and have since spread to Europe, where they are considered invasive.


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?