After the Celebration (alc) 

Someone left behind evidence of a curbside pick-me-up last night.

I took the photo in a hurry and didn't frame it very well, so when I got home I started trying different crops and looks to see if I could make it pop a bit better.

Today I spotted some of the feral parakeets that live in the suburbs around here. I hear them squawking as they fly overhead almost daily, but it's been a while since I've seen them, and even longer since I've seen them close enough and still enough to photograph!

While out walking today I found three of them perched on a cable up above the street. After a minute or two, one of them flew over to the top section of a nearby palm tree.

Some spotted at a park. There's a corner that's landscaped with plants that are a bit better suited for more birds and butterflies than the usual giant lawn with a few trees, and I've seen bluebirds, phoebes, towhees and others in the area.

I'm not sure if they're female or juvenile (only adult males are bright bright blue), but you can see the blue on their wings...and how well their bodies blend in with the ground.

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Some spotted over the last few days:

A monarch that nicely paused on the grass with its wings open, long enough to catch a clear photo.

A swallowtail that I sort of caught in flight, at a distance. It's very low-resolution, but it's also clearly identifiable!

A cabbage white that I was able to catch with a zoom lens.

This northern mockingbird flew across the street and landed on a lawn. While I got the camera out, it flew up to a rooftop, then flew across the street again to land on a signpost, where it stretched its wings briefly (as seen here).

Fun fact: mockingbirds are able to recognize individual humans, and their ability to mimic sounds extends beyond birds to cats, dogs, and even car alarms.

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"Hey. Human. Yeah, you. Got any food?"

"No? Well, fine." *stalks off*

(Seriously, it walked right up to me while I was crouching down to take a photo.)

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A mother duck and her ducklings, spotted swimming around the pond at the park this evening.

Went for a walk in the rain this morning. It usually doesn't rain much here after April, but we got a couple of hours of drizzle today.

Some of the local wildlife spotted at the gardens.

I didn't have much luck photographing this time, but I did catch some good shots of this one. Though I'm not sure what it is. Maybe a warbler?

This was one of three that scattered as I approached a trail junction. The other two hid. This one froze. It blended in very well!

And while I *saw* lots of , this mourning cloak is the only one that held still long enough for me to get a .

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Some flowers and a tree that puts out deep red leaves in spring. It wasn't labeled, but I think it's a Krauter Vesuvius plum. Lit from the front the leaves are a deep purple. Lit from behind they're this super-bright red.

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Finally made it out to the botanical gardens up in the hills for a hike. They've actually stayed open this whole time by requiring reservations to limit the number of people on the grounds at a time. (Also face masks, distancing, and closing off benches and some sections.)

Ironically there were more people there than I usually see. The limits must be against an increased demand due to the fact that they were actually open!

Though I did manage to catch this shot, which was at least (a) identifiable and (b) amusing.

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I spotted a bunch of starlings darting around through the wild barley in the open space near an odd street intersection.

Problem: The barley is taller than the starlings. Most of my photos look kind of like this.

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A butterfly in flight. I've been seeing one or two each time I go for a walk in the neighborhood, but mostly they're flying around too much for me to get a decent photo. This one decided to stick around this one bush for a while.

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