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SCV Outdoor Report

    Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: Epic Spider Fake Out

    As a child, I was attracted to butterflies by their color and patterns:  sometimes subtle, sometimes vibrant, sometimes simple and sometimes intricate.  As I took a closer look, I sometimes noticed that the trailing end of their wings had a piece missing, as though something had taken a bite out of it. 

    Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: Bearly There

    According to this LA County Sheriff Dept. website, “Black Bears were introduced into the San Gabriel Mountains in 1933. They are all descendants of 11 bears deported from Yosemite National Park for being troublemakers.”

    SCV Outdoor Report: The Point Of The Point

    Santa Clarita Outdoor Report by Wendy Langhans

    Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: By A Whisker

    In order to get a driver’s license in the state of California, you must have a visual acuity (keenness of vision) of 20/40. By those standards, rats would not be able to drive.

    Santa Clarita Outdoor Report: Zap! (Part II)

     

    Everyone, at some time, has experienced an unexpected “zap” of static electricity.  In our house, these “cat nap zaps” usually occur on Saturday afternoons and involve cozy woolen afghans and furry cats.  But who knew that zapping was already going on all around us, especially in our flower gardens?

     

    Santa Clarita Outdoor Report: Zap! (Part I)

     

    Last week I led a wildflower hike along Wiley Canyon, part of the Towsley Canyon View Loop Trail.  The Wild California Lilac (Ceanothus) was in full bloom, so much so that at times it seemed as though we were walking through a bluish-purple haze.  And if you looked closely at the blossoms, you could see that the bees were hard at work, gathering nectar and pollen.

    SCV Outdoor Report: Living Color - Part II

     

    Last week, we looked at what gives feathers their range of dull and vibrant colors, comparing reality to the LIVING COLOR of 20th century technology.  Fifty years after color TV’s became popular and affordable, our technology has greatly improved.  Now we have iPad’s with “Retina display” and “rich color saturation”.  So how does this newer digital version of “Living Color” compare to reality? 

    Santa Clarita Outdoor Report: Living Color, Part I

     

    I’m old enough to remember when color TV was the EXCITING NEW techolology.  After dinner on Sunday night, the sight of those LIVING COLOR peacock feathers let us know it was time for “Bonanza”!  But as vivid as those TV feathers were, they can’t hold a candle to the sight of real peacocks.  Did you ever wonder what gives feathers their combination of muted and vibrant colors? 

     

    Santa Clarita Outdoor Report: Refueling Station, Part II

    Hummingbirds are “high performance” flying machines.  Let’s take a look at the stats.  According to one birding website,  “25-30 percent of a hummingbird’s weight is in its pectoral muscles, the muscles principally responsible for flight.”  Their average heart rate is more than “1,200 beats per minute” and at rest, “a hummingbird takes an average of 250 breaths per minute.”  So I wonder, what fuels this “high performance” flyer?  Do hummingbirds seek out high-octane premium nectar, or can they make do with unleaded “regular”?  And if they’re searching for high-octane, how do they find it?

     

    Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: Turkey Vulture

    This is a Best of Wendy Langhans Report

      

    I was sitting on front porch, enjoying an unusually warm January afternoon, when a moving shadow caught my eye.  I looked up and saw an unexpected sight - a Turkey Vulture soaring overhead - so close that I could see the splayed-out feathers on its wing-tips.