American Pipit

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Leonard and I saw a small flock of American pipits feeding in a plowed field off of Highway 200  near Adin CA (Lassen County). Periodically the pipits would fly up to the nearby power lines, where I was able to … Continue reading

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Hungry Grappletail

Feeding Grappletail

Feeding Grappletail

Late last summer this grappletail (Octogomphus specularis) was feeding on a rock next to Ash Creek near the Lower Campground (Lassen County CA). I believe this is a female grappletail because of the thin yellow line on the top of the abdomen.

Based on what appears to be a forked “tail”and flat wings on the prey, Leonard speculates the dragonfly may be eating a stonefly, but is uncertain. A better knowledge of entomology would be helpful.


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Numenius americanus – Curlew

Long-billed Curlew

Long-billed Curlew

Long-billed curlews (Numenius americanus) breed and spend the summer in the Great Plains and Great Basin. In the winter they  migrate to the coastal areas of the United States and Central America and the interior of Mexico.

Long-billed curlews eat a wide variety of invertebrates. However, the very long, downcurved bill of this large shorebird is best adapted to capturing shrimp and crabs in the tidal flats where they winter and digging earthworms from among the sparse, short grasses of their summer range.

This long-billed curlew was photographed a couple months ago in the McArthur Swamp (Shasta County CA) before the curlews left for their wintering grounds

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Claw Rake

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Mountain lions (Puma concolor), like the black bears in my previous post (“Bear Trees” on 11-18-15),  also scratch tree trunks. On a standing tree, mountain lion scratch marks can also reach from four to eight feet off of the ground, … Continue reading

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Bear Trees

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Walking through the forest I often see bear trees. Bears (black bears [Ursus americanus] in our area) will pull away the bark of living conifers to get at the juicy substance on the wood or to uncover grubs and other … Continue reading

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California Dancer

California Dancer

California Dancer

The California dancer (Argia agrioides) flies from April until as late as early December. This common damselfly can often be found perching on rocks or the ground – usually near moving water.

California dancer males are vivid blue with black markings. The thoracic shoulder stripe is forked, the second abdominal segment has a stripe and the eighth through tenth abdominal segments are blue. Females can resemble males with less vivid colors or can be tan and black.

This California dancer was photographed along the spillway between Crystal and Baum Lakes (Shasta County CA).

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Tattered Butterflies

We always think of butterflies as delicate insects. But they are not the fragile and dainty creatures we imagine, but are much stronger and resilient than we believe. Butterflies are real survivors.

Butterflies’ wings wear and their scales come off as they brush against objects while foraging. Courting often causes bits and pieces of a butterfly’s wing to chip off. And when attacked by a predator, a butterfly’s wing will break off allowing the butterfly to escape. Better a broken wing than serving as someone’s lunch.

I was amazed to learn that a tattered butterfly can fly and function with two thirds of its wings missing, although they are not as swift and graceful as an undamaged butterfly.

The pictured buckeye (Junonia coenia) from Eagle Lake CA and the mylitta crescent (Phyciodes mylitta) from Burney Falls Park CA both show damage to their wings.

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