Sawfly, don’t bother me.


It looks like we have a Sawfly infestation on some of our trees and shrubs. My wife noticed them and sent me a photo. These happen to be on a Gold Coin Scots Pine we got last year and have in a pot. I was planning on stylizing it more like a Bonsai.

It took a slight hit this winter, being its first in the pot since we got it, so I let the candles grow out so it would gather strength.

Now this.

The first image is the normal view. I didn’t see anything at first.


The second image is the closeup. Those boogers can really hide!


It looks like I’ll be pickin’ caterpillars off the Scots Pine when I get home!

I was planning on wiring it later in the summer. I’ll cut the candles back next year. It seems this year it’s one thing or another.

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Last of the Summer Re-Potting Done for 2018


Nice hot day here in Santa Clara. I had re-potted most of the tropical trees before a demo I recently concluded. Now it was time for the final ficus and the last of the summer trees.  The Ficus Microcarpa Shohin is one of my prized tropical trees. It has been in the little shohin pot for a few years now and gone to show this year. It has been putting on prolific growth this year and I wanted to develop a more advanced nebari and root mass. In order to do that I needed to up-pot the tree to a bigger pot. I will lose some of the ramification and leaf size reduction initially as it grows back in but I can work that back and shape it over the next year.

Ficus Microcarpa Shohin: full canopy along-side a new pot for growth.

The root mass was thick and full. Below…

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Bird’s ID – Willet

H.J. Ruiz - Avian101


The Willet (Tringa semipalmata), formerly in the monotypic genus Catoptrophorus as Catoptrophorus semipalmatus, is a large shorebird in the Scolopacidae family. It is a relatively large and robust sandpiper, and is the largest of the species called “shanks” in the genus Tringa. Its closest relative is the lesser yellowlegs, a much smaller bird with a very different appearance apart from the fine, clear, and dense pattern of the neck, which both species show in breeding plumage. It breeds in North America and the West Indies and winters in southern North America, Central America, the West Indies and South America.

© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

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Pringle Bay to Rooi Els


Our walk this morning attracted 12 Hurriers, who battled along against a cold and strong wind to Rooi Els.  The veld, devastated by the fire of a couple of years ago has not recovered and was bleak!  Building construction along the road has also done a great deal of damage to the fynbos, so it was not our best walk.  The return was better as the wind was behind us, but that could not hide our overall disappointment with the area so famous for its bird life and floral wonders.  We saw very few birds and none of the specials (Cape Rock Jumper and Ground Woodpecker).

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Young Urban Birders

Suzanne's Mom's Blog

kids-with-bins-15-e1417551569689-980x560Photo: Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Increasing numbers of young people, like boys in Cornell’s BirdSleuth K-12 program, are into birding — developing their observational skills and their inherent love of nature.

One of the most hopeful things around is to see kids get interested in birds, learning to identify them and to spot unusual ones. This summer I’ve been getting a kick out of grandchildren who aim to test my ability (limited) to recognize bird calls. We have a book with buttons that you press for different calls. They press, I identify. I’m getting better.

Penelope Green reported recently at the New York Times about young urban adults who assisted with an international bird count in May.

“On Global Big Day last month, birders around the world counted all the species they could spot in 24 hours. It was a super-birding event in the bonanza that is spring migration —…

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