Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Ladybugs know when it's time to snuggle


Vineyard School Oak Ambassador alumnus Tristan discovered these ladybugs snuggling up for the winter ahead. Even though our winters are mild, ladybugs still know when it's time to snuggle. As the supply of their favorite foods, like aphids, drops off in the fall, it's time to rest. Warming days will awaken them and signal that it's time to mate, eat and produce more ladybugs. See

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Red-winged blackbird choir sings good night

LATO docent ~ nature photographer Mike Klatt shared these observations and photos: 

"The last couple of evenings a bit after sunset, large numbers of red-winged blackbirds have been flying to roost for the night in the Italian cypresses in our backyard.  We're not sure where they are coming from, but we do see them in a large valley oak tree that's about 50 yards away from the Italian cypresses before they fly to the cypresses.  The sound is truly beautiful.  It's like a choir of red-winged blackbirds all singing good night to each other.  There must be at least 100 or more of them."

Friday, September 4, 2020

Happy new homes for Santa Margarita Ranch LATO trail songbirds

September 4, 2020

Young Santa Margarita Elementary School nature photographer Emily and her Oak Ambassador sister were on hand this morning with their mom Jen to help Morro Coast Audubon Society volunteers Freddy and Cheryl install eight new songbird nest boxes along the Santa Margarita Ranch Learning Among the Oaks (LATO) Trail. Emily shared these photos and videos!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

The velvet has done its job for this buck

Mike Klatt watched this buck rubbing the velvet off of its antlers. It took about an hour of hard rubbing. Velvet is a type of skin, richly supplied with blood vessels to provide nutrients for growing antlers. Once the antlers have finished growing, the velvet has done its job. It is rubbed off or dries~falls off in late summer, early fall. Read more about this fascinating process:

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Oh, deer - one-sided antler

This buck has been hanging around our yard.  Sometimes in the fall we see bucks that have broken antlers which is probably a result of butting heads with another buck over a doe or two.  I don't recall seeing one in the spring. I wonder why this fellow ended up this way.   --- Michael Klatt, Atascadero

Monday, June 15, 2020

Western bluebird parents at work

On June 3, 2020, LATO nature photographer Michael Klatt shared these beautiful photos of Western bluebirds nesting in the Klatt's Atascadero backyard. The bluebird family vacated the nest - baby birds successfully fledged - a few days later.

Male Western bluebird returning to the nest box with a meal for the chicks. 

Both the male and the female Western bluebird at the nest box. 

The female Western bluebird leaving the box.

Male leaving the box with droppings from the chicks. We parents work hard to keep the nest clean.

Male leaving the box to find more food.

Now the female leaves the nest to find food.

One of the nestlings looking out into the world. I'll soon be ready to fly!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Cooper's Hawk looking at you

What does this Cooper's Hawk see? Click on the name to find out more about this skillful flier. It is easily confused with the Sharp-shinned Hawk, another small hawk found in woodlands, suburban areas and even backyards. Photo by Michael Klatt.