Sunday, July 2, 2017

Leopard Lovers

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It was a little too early in the day when I arrived at the leopard lily patch. The lilies were still nodding serenely on their stalks, enjoying interludes of sun and shade, with nothing yet being asked of them. 

I took a seat on a small, well-situated rock at the edge of small jungle of lilies, chain ferns and stinging nettles, being careful to avoid brushing against vines of poison oak. Many deer-browsed leopard lily stalks stood at about arm's reach in front of me, sacrifices to the numerous blossoms swaying in a gentle breeze just beyond them. When the mosquitoes soon found me I wondered if I'd be able to stick around long enough for the action to heat up.

I was actually hoping to see some swallowtail butterflies drop by. Until I heard the telltale thrum of tiny wings swoop overhead, I'd forgotten that hummingbirds also like this lily patch. The first lone hummer refused to feed anywhere near me, so I sat with the mosquitoes and watched first one hummingbird, then eventually three, as they fed on all the blossoms beyond the reach of my lens.

Fortunately, the competition and temptation of fresh nectar finally overcame their fear, and they began to take me for granted as they went about their business. There were both anna's and allen's hummingbirds, and they chased one another around the garden a few times before settling on a kind of armistice. Watching two of the tiny rivals perched on the same small twig, you could imagine them trying to decide whether it was better to give chase or just enjoy the bounty.

Life is good when you don't even have to hover.

A couple of pale swallowtails eventually joined the fun, occasionally being chased off a blossom by a stern little bird.

The butterflies carried next-gen leopard lilies on the bottoms of their wings.

On the way to the lily patch I noticed that yellow mariposa lilies were done in the sunniest locations where they'd first appeared, but still bloomed in more forgiving meadows.

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  1. Great shots. Hummers and butterflies. Very impressive.

  2. Spencer WestbrookJuly 3, 2017 at 7:45 AM

    Very nice indeed, great work

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