Animals

Anna’s Hummingbird

anna's hummingbird at feeder

In our Sunnyvale garden, there is always one, and only one, dominant male hummingbird. He tries to keep every other hummingbird away from the feeder with one exception: During breeding season, the male allows some females to feed. tbd

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Yellow-faced Bumblebee

One of the common visitors to our Sunnyvale garden is Bombus vosnesenskii, the yellow-faced bumblebee: A species of bumblebee native to the west coast of North America. It is the most abundant species of bee in this range and can be found in both urban and agricultural areas. Additionally, B. vosnesenskii is utilized as an important pollinator in commercial agriculture, …

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Ladybugs

Ladybugs and Ladybug larvae are beneficial insects for your garden because they eat aphids. Ladybugs are known by several other names: lady beetles, ladybug beetles, and ladybird beetles. Regardless of what you call them, these beetles belong to the family Coccinellidae. All ladybugs progress through a four-stage life cycle known as complete metamorphosis. Embryonic Stage (Eggs) The ladybug life cycle …

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Orbweaver ‘Garden’ Spider

Behavior: Orb weavers are very docile, non-aggressive spiders that will flee at the first sign of a threat (typically they will run or drop off the web). They are not dangerous to people & pets, and are actually quite beneficial because they will catch and eat a lot of pest-type insects. Range Prolific throughout entire continental United States, Canada, Alaska, …

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Arboreal Salamander

Arboreal Salamander – Aneides lugubris This salamander is commonly seen in moist shaded yards and gardens in Northern California, especially around the Bay Area. It also occurs along the coast through southern California, and north to Humboldt county along the coast and northern coast ranges, as well as in the central Sierra Nevada foothills. These salamanders can be seen walking …

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Dragonfly

Dragonflies are predators, both in their aquatic larval stage, when they are known as nymphs or naiads, and as adults. Several years of their life are spent as a nymph living in freshwater; the adults may be on the wing for just a few days or weeks. They are fast agile fliers, sometimes migrating across oceans, and are often but …

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A Yellow Bumble Bee (Not)

Visiting my Sunnyvale garden are a variety of bees: Honey bees, small Mason bees, and big fat Bumble bees (that turn out to be Carpenter bees). Then, this fine early March day, I spot an enormous yellow bumble bee in the air around one of our apricot trees. It hovers near the blossoms,  but meanders in three dimensions, never once …

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Racoon

racoon

You hear what sounds like a couple of men running across your roof. They stop. They start wrestling, rolling around. You go outside and shine a flashlight: Bandit eyes! It’s a couple of juvenile racoons playing around. Where I live is about 4 miles from wilderness. If you have a fish pond, good luck to you. If you have cats, …

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Coast Range Fence Lizard

Coast Range Western Lizard

Our Sunnyvale garden has a resident Coast Range Fence Lizard. He has been spotted near the parking strip in front, on the side yard, and in and around the back yard. Yeah, that’s only one hundred feet but to a 3-inch long lizard that is the back-40. Sceloporus occidentalis bocourtii is a subspecies of the Western fence lizard. This taxon, …

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