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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.


  1. Star-capped Coprinus (Coprinus calyptratus)

    Star-capped Coprinus (Coprinus calyptratus)

    Often called Inky Cap or Ink Cap, this is one of two common Bay Area species. It is distinguished from Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus) by its smooth, not shaggy crown. These mushrooms self-digest as they age and form a black inky fringe when they set their spores. As the edges dissolve they may...
  2. Pretty Little Anna's hummingbird

    Pretty Little Anna's hummingbird

    This is December, I will see a handful of these little birds around my feeder throughout the winter.
  3. Common Ringlet (Coenonympha california)

    Common Ringlet (Coenonympha california)

    This is a recent (July 2021) taxonomic split from the former Large Heath (Coenonympha tullia). That species is now confined to Eurasia and Alaska while present species is found in the rest of North America. The type locality of the nominate subspecies is San Mateo County where this one was...
  4. Western Blue Flag (Iris missouriensis)

    Western Blue Flag (Iris missouriensis)

    Ranging widely throughout the Western US; note the nectar guides (yellow stripes) encouraging pollinators to visit. Similar to Hartweg's Iris (I. harwgii), Blue Flag tends to grow at higher elevations in wet meadows, while Hartweg's grows in dry areas. Hartweg's usually has yellowish flowers and...
  5. Common Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus graciosus)

    Common Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus graciosus)

    Distinguished from the similar Western Fence Lizard (S. occidentalis) which usually occurs at lower elevations by Sagebrush's smaller, more rounded and more numerous scales particularly on the back and thigh. Males have a blue throat while females have a pale throat as seen here. The population...
  6. Savannah Sparrow

    Savannah Sparrow

    This highly variable, but distinctive species breeds along the California coast and also in the Great Basin but skips over most of interior California except during winter and migration. Precise subspecific identification is speculative outside the breeding season because of the high degree of...
  7. Northern Shoveler

    Northern Shoveler

    This is an adult male rising out of the water and flapping. The long uncolored outer wing feathers are primaries. Notice the iridescent green secondaries bordered by black. The greater secondary coverts are white and the lesser and median secondary coverts are blue. The long pointed feathers...
  8. Black Turnstone

    Black Turnstone

  9. Mexican Duck

    Mexican Duck

    I saw this continuing male Mexican duck today in Huntington Beach, California. While I was looking for it, a man walked through the park throwing food for the birds. In the huge rush of various ducks and geese that ensued, the duck I was looking for swam quite close to me and let me take some...
  10. Killdeer


    The Killdeer is one of the most widespread and familiar of the North American shorebirds. It breeds across much of the continent, choosing gravel bars when available. But it has become well adapted to nesting on roadsides, golf course edges and even tar & gravel rooftops. They are noisy...
  11. Margined White (Pieris marginalis)

    Margined White (Pieris marginalis)

    Note the dark vein outlines on the underside of the wing. Not to be confused with the introduced Cabbage Butterfly (P. rapae), this species is native. Formerly lumped with Green-veined White (P. napi) of Europe and Mustard White (Pieris oleracea) of northeastern North America, it is now...
  12. Western Aphideater (Eupeodes fumipennis)

    Western Aphideater (Eupeodes fumipennis)

    Lots of these tiny flies were hovering in mid-air. I believe I have this hoverfly identified but corrections are always welcome. (Experts at BugGuide have confirmed the ID as a male.) The yellow striped abdomen makes this one a wasp mimic. But notice the head is that of a typical fly and it...
  13. Pine Siskin

    Pine Siskin

    The amount of yellow in the wings varies individually and cannot be used to reliably sex these siskins. Juveniles resemble adults but have buffy wing-bars. This is a rather nomadic species, and California seems to be currently experiencing a modest invasion of these birds. There are three...
  14. American White Pelican

    American White Pelican

    This is an adult in non-breeding plumage showing short crest feathers on its nape. Its bill will turn red in breeding plumage. They do not breed here, but are migrants and winter visitors breeding on remote islands on inland lakes to the north. This species is one of the largest and heaviest...
  15. Red Crossbill

    Red Crossbill

    Red Crossbills specialize in feeding on Pine Cones. They divide up into wandering populations with distinctive call-notes. These call-types do not map neatly onto described subspecies partly because these nomads have no fixed home breeding range. I made a voice recording which has been...
  16. Cooper's Hawk

    Cooper's Hawk

    This juvenile Cooper's Hawk is stretching its right wing, tail and leg. In birds it appears the extremities are tied together when they stretch. Notice the rusty facial feathers, graduated white tail tip, forward facing eyes, and sparsely streaked belly which help distinguish this species from...
  17. Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)

    Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)

    This is a common species in the far west often seen foraging on high flying insects. Their short tail gives them an erratic bat-like flight style. This is an adult male showing the metallic green back and iridescent violet-blue rump which give this species its name. When seen overhead, they are...
  18. Mylitta Crescent (Phyciodes mylitta)

    Mylitta Crescent (Phyciodes mylitta)

    This species is common throughout most of California. This is a male nectaring on Wild Mustard (Sinapis arvensis). Females are usually more heavily marked above. Populations in California are assigned to the nominate race.
  19. Great Copper (Tharsalea xanthoides)

    Great Copper (Tharsalea xanthoides)

    The largest of the coppers, this species is uncommon throughout most of the Bay Area. This is a male nectaring on wild mustard (Sinapis arvensis). Females are usually more heavily marked. Populations in Oregon and Northern California are usually assigned the race "T. x. nigromaculata." Formerly...
  20. Orange-crowned Warbler

    Orange-crowned Warbler

    This warbler popped into our garden where it posed for photos. They are a fairly common breeder in much of California, but this one is a different subspecies. It's one of the gray-headed types, either "L. c. orestera" from the Rocky Mountains and Great Basin ranges, or nominate "L. c. celata"...
  21. Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon)

    Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon)

    This attractive but common species ranges across western North America. The widespread naturalization of introduced Sweet Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) may account for its being so widespread. This is the typical yellow form. A black form also occurs with reduced yellow striping.
  22. Northern Checkerspot (Chlosyne palla)

    Northern Checkerspot (Chlosyne palla)

    This is a CORRECTION. Originally posted as Edith's Checkerspot (Euphydryas editha), but now reidentified as a female Northern. Apparently females of this species mimic other species such as Edith's and Variable. Checkerspots can be very difficult to identify. I would like to thank Adam Winer...
  23. Flame Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

    Flame Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

    I believe this is a male based on its all bright red body. Females are browner. This species is widespread throughout most of California and the Southwest.
  24. Lindley's Blazingstar (Mentzelia lindleyi)

    Lindley's Blazingstar (Mentzelia lindleyi)

    This native to California was doing well where the SCU (Santa Clara Unit) Lightning Complex Fire devastated the area in 2020.
  25. Bunchleaf Penstemon (Penstemon heterophyllus)

    Bunchleaf Penstemon (Penstemon heterophyllus)

    So named because they have five stamens. Unusual is that the fifth stamen is infertile and protrudes forming a tongue. This one is endemic to California. Note the long narrow opposite leaves suggesting the var. "P. h. purdyi" which ranges throughout the Northern California foothills.