Scabland Fleabane

This gallery contains 6 photos.

A scabland is rough, barren, volcanic topography with thin or no soil and little vegetation. These scabland fleabane (Erigeron bloomeri) specimens were growing in a dry, disturbed, rocky site on the east side of California Highway 299E near the junction … Continue reading

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Five Barn Swallow Chicks

Barn Swallow Nestlings

Five chicks are in the barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) nest under the eaves of our back porch (near Lookout CA – Modoc Count)y. Every year we host barn swallows and usually three nestlings fledge. This is our largest clutch ever.

Barn swallows, cobalt blue above and tawny below, have long, deeply-forked tails. Both parents build the nest cup from mud pellets. The nest is lined first with grass and then feathers. Our horses also contribute horsehair to the barn swallow nests.

There are 3 to 7 eggs (whitish with brownish spots) in a clutch. Both sexes incubate the eggs, with the female assuming more of the responsibility. After 13 to 17 days the eggs hatch. The chicks are naked with closed eyes when born. Both parents feed the young until they fledge 18 to 23 days after hatching.

The barn swallows diet is mainly flying insects.

The barn swallows make a big mess with their mud and guano on our back porch. However, Leonard and I enjoy watching the barn swallow family grow. In addition, I keep hoping that this large family is reducing the mosquito population. So we happily tolerate the mud and guano. The litter can all be washed away once the barn swallows leave in the fall.

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Ranchman’s Tiger Moth

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Leonard and I again hiked Elkins #2 Loop in Ash Creek Wildlife Area (Modoc County CA) trying to photograph a sora, a secretive bird that thus far has eluded my camera. We heard many sora and saw two fly briefly. … Continue reading

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Naked Broomrape

This gallery contains 7 photos.

Leonard and I are planning a trip to Oregon. Naked broomrape (Orobanche uniflora) is a plant that eluded us and we were told where we might find them in Oregon. Meanwhile, last Tuesday we returned to some scab land on … Continue reading

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Wilson’s Phalarope

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Three days ago Leonard and I hiked Elkins #2 Loop at Ash Creek Wildlife Area near Lookout CA (Modoc County). I was searching for American pillwort plants, which I was certain I had seen along that trail. My memory failed … Continue reading

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Bristled Downingia

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Vernal pools are ephemeral habitats that form in winter and are completely dry by summer. They contain sufficient water in the spring to deter upland plants and are dry in the summer so no marsh plants survive. As a consequence … Continue reading

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Elegant Rockcress

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Elegant rockcress (Boechera arcuata) is a native, perennial in the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae). It is endemic to California and often considered a variety of Boechera sparsiflora. However, geographic range and characteristics of the hairs justify giving elegant rockcress its own … Continue reading

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