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View Diary: Daily Bucket: Wild Florida--Prickly-Pear Cactus (113 comments)

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  •  Almost time to pick ramps here... (17+ / 0-)

    For those that don't know, ramps are a wild leek/onion that grows here for a few weeks in the spring. They're known for being... stinky. But I can't get enough of them.

    I make a great potato and onion soup with them. But I'll also eat them raw, and probably be sleeping on the couch when I do. No gum or breath mint can overpower that smell. But so worth it.

    I used to pick them at my dad's house, but since they moved I've had trouble finding ramps. But a buddy of mine is gonna take me to his spot to get some soon.

    They grow the best in West Virginia, and I'd love to take a trip down there to the Ramp Festival in Elkins. Eat lots of ramps, listen to live bluegrass, then hike Seneca Rocks. But money is tight, so maybe next year.

    •  IIRC, the city of Chicago got its name from a (9+ / 0-)

      patch of wild ramps growing in the swamps that the local Native Americans called "cheekago"--"stinking grass".  :)

      PS--I'm a reptile guy too. I did a Bucket on invasive Red-Ear Sliders a little while ago:

      Many years ago I used to do reptile rehab and rescue--I got unwanted Sliders (and iguanas and Burmese pythons) by the dozen.  :(

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 07:52:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cool, I have two red ear sliders (8+ / 0-)

        and they were a rescue. They were just hatchlings, and belonged to a friend-of-a-friend who we haven't seen since. They were in a tiny 5 inch by 8 inch plastic tank with no water when my wife took them and brought them home. They were dying. I didn't want more turtles because they are a lifelong commitment. I already had a painted turtle, who turned 10 years old this year. But I had to help those poor little turtles.

        We put them in some water and they were so happy. 5 years later, they've grown a lot. The female is huge, about nine inches long. I've done the best I can keeping them in 110-gallon cattle troughs in my apartment, but I may have to eventually find a home for her somewhere where she has more room to swim and hunt.

        Nice red ear slider diary btw. People get turtles because they're cute, and don't know what they're getting into, then release  them or the turtles die from lack of care. Although I love my turtles, I've convinced many friends not to own them, or to put back ones they've taken from the wild.

      •  so what is this red marked monster? (7+ / 0-)

        here meeting the neighbors,

        ....them mostly all grown up versions of this little 3" cutie. That's a Monkey Puzzle tree seed pod he is on. These trees are huge, those seed pods have killed people, they are a few pounds and 12-16" long.

        There are catfish in this downtown pond that eat turtles, altho maybe they are just funnin' them and spit them back out, like the one did that I saw.

        And the Wood Duck male was still there saturday, before there was a pair and second male, so....who knows.

        this one from a forested park pond up north.


        Carp, I forgot to post this after all this, instead went out and did Stuff and went back out to Devereaux without any just the insomniacs will see it..yay, up with insomniacs.


        Devereaux Lagoon, west of the UCSB campus and Isla Vista is a shallow coastal estuary lagoon about a mile long and mostly 6" deep.  It is drying up like September now, right in the middle of migration. It is surrounded by the fast growing town of Goleta and UCSB who think nothing of growing past any reasonable capacity. The lagoon is part of a larger and just expanded preserve system under the thumb of UCSB and fronted by the student Ecology Club and other of that ilk...researchers and professors and students do much work there.
             The adjacent golf course was part of the upper streamside, filled in within  my memory!!!!!! to be excavated and restored  as marsh/streamside habitat.


        I went there yesterday with scope and sussed it out..posted late last night/am in Dawn Chorus, linked earlier.  We had business to do nearby, so, well...LET'S GO!!

        There were many Royal Terns fishing and sometimes kleptoparasitizing each other (losers chasing the successful catchers and crashing into them in midair) such scrum was right in front of me and involved a four way crash!
        They are loud, their cranky mechanical call heard for a mile or so..there was one who must have imprinted on a duck...he quacked.
            What a constant airshow!!!

        At least two waves of 15 went out to sea, another dozen were constantly in the air fishing in front of us, more back on the sandbar  but without..anyway...

        Stilts: babies were reported racing around two miles away in the wastewater treatment pond so local nesting is happening.  These today here were really racy and silly and skinny..but me with no blablabla..

        Peeps scattered like dry leaves all about the mudflats and shallow water in the hundreds now, a mess o' 50shorebirds on the far side, likely typically like yesterday: Willets and Skillets...or inrealspeach Willets, Godwits, Dunlins, Dowitchers, Curlews and/or Yellowlegs.
          A family of Snowies..must have new fledgling babies cause they kept chasing one bird, and cresting at each other and just acting like kids.

        Spotted Towhees singing, with my little old camera, a picture maybe,

         Lesser Goldfinch was what I saw on the nest out there yesterday, also a pair singing where we parked by the bridge.. Tits were making a nest right next to us..and just Yay for titsmeeces.

        Laughing gulls 8 or so seen yesterday probably went by, there were two tern like dark headed birds that flew thru and didn't fish.
             Other gulls presumed massed on the distant sandbar, yesterday forgot to mention the juvenile set of 10 Heerman's gulls with their black eyes, dark grey plumage and black legs. Many of those also  seen at the harbor and Goleta nesting somewhere near maybe....maybe not, wiki says only on a couple of small islands in the Sea of Cortez...amazing, i could count 200 in the 25 miles of shoreline just the easy to spot babies.
             all about birds says they have tried to nest on Alcatraz, and the breeders are on sight by March. Were these babies almost yearlings tagging along but left here because sexy times aren't for kids? They migrate to bc in late summer and back south for winter.

        Several Cormorants were drying and hanging around, BK Cormorants..Both Kinds: Double Crested and Pelagics I think.

        Going and coming, one can't go more than a block in any neighborhood without hearing the 'gteeeeeeet' of baby Mocker fledglings.
             Also Crows, Towhees, adult Mockers  , English looking sparrows.
        , house finches

        A new juvenile BPelican was fishing.

        MsBee saw a RTail hiding by the bike path, watching the being restored cliffside meadow.  
             She also saw a Say's Phoebe and a BCNight Heron. She saw a Towhee go into a bush and babies peeping.

        A Rufous hummer was working the flowers in the flowering Lagoon side were masses of bees.

        Yay! Bees!

        Great Blue Heron just being uncool, franking at nothing..'Fraaaaank!' and waiting all tipped over and strung out flat..a baby maybe. Another later glided down in a grassy patch next to the stoplight on campus and looked like Godzilla landing for a student snack..No one but us noticed.

        Missing: ..ducks. Without glass I couldn't see the Wigeons or Avocets I saw last night. Also no Shovelors or Kingfishas, and no Gadwalls or geese or Mallards even.  

        And a very purty Savannah Sparrow lit and sang right at us.

        Much other songbird singing high in the lagoonside trees, several familiar but un-id'd calls...this in the woods by the Lagoon, a very good habitat.

        Baltimore Orioles
        all about.
        Acorn WP
        heard but not seen.
            Something like a RWBB popped up on a roadside bush and sang in the window, a very nice and familiar tune..but we were then moving, he was trying really well to get us to stay.

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 08:25:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  it looks like a Red-Bellied Turtle (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KenBee, foresterbob, RiveroftheWest

          though to be sure you'd need to turn him over.  ;)

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 04:56:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  ahh, some corrections, heh... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Polly Syllabic, RiveroftheWest

          lineatus made an offhand remark that was a red flag for my blather about Royal Terns...well, I was echoing the local probirders remarks from the bird list and assumed these were what they say they saw a few days before, that They would know.

          Haha..clearly these several fishing in front of us were Caspian Terns by their black underside wingtips and heavier bill. Several pictures show this.

          Another picture shows less dark underneath on one bird, but that could have been reflection from the sun or whatever..but the bill was still heavier and darker at the
          1. Royal Terns>>>>Caspian Terns.

          2. Savannah Sparrow MsBee said because of the clear chest dark spot. looking at sparrows chest spots... >>>Lark Sparrow
                                          Sage Sparrow
                                           Song Sparrow
          so...could be likely Song Sparrow

          I have a few photos of another Song Sparrow right in front of me that are almost definitive, haha.

          3. Spotted Towhees singing..well, MsBee said she saw them and we heard what could have been them singing, alas the picture of another bird turned out it was of a Black Phoebe, so add that one.

          Well, that's the best we could do for now..:>

          I was using my older 7mp camera with zoominess of 7x and the pictures have always been pretty good, altho the lack of zoominess is missed the pictures focused fast and wrote fast and look pretty good all things I am coping camera wise for now.

          This machine kills Fascists.

          by KenBee on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 06:49:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Red ear, in the movie "Matewan," (8+ / 0-)

      there was a great scene where the WVA locals were trying to explain ramps to the Italian immigrants.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 08:43:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  go, just go (7+ / 0-)

      don't look back, they're gaining.

      That is a fine mess of ramps!

      This machine kills Fascists.

      by KenBee on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 11:34:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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