Grasshoppers are insects, commonly compared to katydids or crickets. The main difference between these groups is that grasshoppers generally have shorter antennae than the length of their bodies. Scientifically speaking, grasshoppers are in the order Orthoptera, with a suborder of Caelifera. These insects have a huge range of habitat, and predominantly feed on grasses with their sharp, strong mandibles. Many species of grasshopper make clearly audible noise by rubbing their back legs against their wings or abdomen.
Rod cod are bottom dwelling sea fish of the genus Sebastes. These fish play an important part in the commercial and recreational fishing industry. The large red fish in the photo is the Yelloweye rock fish, also called "red snapper". It is a species of concern because of overfishing on the Pacific West Coast. An estimated 7 to 13% of these slow-growing, large rock fish are thought to remain in the inshore waters. Some of these fish can live over one hundred years.
These furry little rodents hail from the Andes mountains in South America. They've made a comeback after facing extinction from being over-hunted for their soft, dense fur. Nowadays, chinchillas are popular pets though are rather high maintenance compared to other common rodent pets–requiring physical and mental exercise, dust baths and cautious room temperature regulation. They are very talented jumpers and can release their fur when grabbed, an ability called fur slip. Chinchillas do not travel well and are very sensitive animals (not always exhibiting illness symptoms until it is too late) so it is recommended that would-be owners do plenty of research before they decide to invest in up to twenty years of responsible chinchilla care.
Honey Bees usually swarm in the spring. This is the honey bee's method of colony reproduction. A swarm typically occurs when a new queen bee is about to hatch. At this point the old queen bee leaves to start a new hive. The old queen leaves with about half or more of the hive's worker bees. This can contain anywhere from thousands to tens of thousands of bees.
The swarm gathers in a new location such as a tree, or a branch, or in the case pictured, the roof of my garage! From this location scouter bees are sent out to search for a new suitable nest location. As the scouts return they preform a dance to indicate the location they discovered. The excitement level of the dance preformed indicates the quality of the new location. Other scouts are encouraged to check the location and if it is satisfactory then they return and preform the dance. At first several scouts try to convince the swarm to move to different locations but over a few hours or days all scouts agree on a new nest.
Baby swans. The young hatch in a nest built in the reedy shallow area of a pond or lake. The nest consists of a mound of vegetation, and can measure up to 4 feet across!
This small intertidal creature, Collisella pelta, has a 1-1.5 inch wide and moderately high, pointed shell. Its color is whitish with dark stripes that often intertwine. They are quite common and can be found from the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, to Baja Califronia in ocean water attached to rocks.
Spermophilus beecheyi, the common California Ground Squirrel. They grow up to 11 inches with a bushy tail up to 9 inches and inhabit grasslands, open oak-savannah valleys, and foothills. This squirrel ranges from central Washington to Baja California. They burrow on open hillsides and cliffs and hibernate in winter.
Also know as King Salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, is the largest of the Pacific anadromous salmon. The largest King landed to date weighted 125 pounds and measured 58 inches in length. These kings of the ocean range from Alaska to Baja California, with abundances schooling in the Sacramento and Columbia River confluences with the Pacific. These fish return to their place of birth, sometimes far up-steam of the ocean, to spawn and die. Chinook can live to be five years old before spawning.
The California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi, can be found all over the western U.S. in places such as California, Oregon, and Nevada. They live in holes in the ground, which are sometimes communal, and they never venture far from their homes. They are gray and brown with white highlights around their eyes. I have heard stories of people taming California squirrels and carrying them around in their front shirt pocket while feeding them peanuts to keep them entertained, but I highly recommend against this as some squirrels may carry tetanus or bubonic plague.
Araneus diadematus is known by many names including the common garden spider, European garden spider, cross orb-weaver, diadem spider, and cross spider. It inhabits Europe, Asia, and North America and is commonly found in woodland areas and all kinds of gardens. The spider comes in a variety of colorings from brown to light yellow and has brick-red and black highlights. It is easily identified by the large white dots which form a cross on their back. European garden spiders can grow up to 20 mm long. The females spin an orb shaped web. They are a docile spider and while their bite might leave a welt for a few days they are ultimately harmless to humans.