Artwork on this page is available

Portraits are from the Birds of Stanford website

ink and colored charcoal

©2000 Darryl Wheye

Species include:

Mourning Dove, Northern Flicker, Marsh Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Spotted Towhee, Hermit Thrush, Downy Woodpecker, Great Blue Heron, White-breasted Nuthatch, Wilson's Warbler, White-throated Swift

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Lionfish

(Pterois volitans)

watercolor

©2017 Darryl Wheye

"Lionfish are armed with venomous spines and can blend in among rocks and coral, but there’s little need to hide in the areas they’ve
recently invaded. In those areas, Lionfish  have no predators (except for people equipped with hooks-and-lines, nets, spear guns and guns).  Also, in those areas, prey species are unprepared to defend against the new invaders, so Lionfish have no need to conceal themselves to set a trap."

picture and caption from:  Camouflage as Science Art:  Remaining Hidden and Becoming Apparent,  p. 9.

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(left)

Pink-spotted Cattleheart butterfly and larva

(Parides photinus)

watercolor

©2016 Darryl Wheye

This butterfly has an interesting  adult/"child" resemblance.  The larva (lower left) and wing markings share characteristics.)

(right)

Sandia Hairstreak and larvae

(Callophrys mcfarlandi)

watercolor

©2016 Darryl Wheye

 

This butterfly and larvae also have an interesting adult/"child" resemblance.  The larval form on the hindwing resembles a larva. See  arrow pointing to the outer edge of the hindwing.  See also the two larvae on the foodplant in the lower right.

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​Pitcher Picture
pencil

©2013 Darryl Wheye

In August, 2013, I visited the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park (San Francisco, CA), where this pitcher plant was "blooming".  A Conservatory employee pointed out how each of the plant's pitchers extended from a leaf's central vein and are not flowers.  Instead, the pitchers are, in essence, external stomachs whose enzyme-rich contents digest hapless prey--in the case of this species, typically small insects--that provide the plants with supplemental nutrients. 

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California Quail in Woodside, CA
Triptych; each panel  8.75 x 13.75 inches
 pencil on bristol board
 ©2005 Darryl Wheye     

                                                                                  
TOP: A covey as it might have looked one million years ago when the California Quail separated from its closest relative, the Gambel’s Quail, becoming a distinct species. In parts of Woodside, it is easy to see a rock formation usually referred to as “conglomerate”. In this drawing, the conglomerate, a rocky-road dough of hard, resistant boulders and cobbles mixed into a binding batter was eventually loosened and worn down, leaving behind the occasional perfect rock lozenge, like the one beneath the male quail (right).

MIDDLE:  A covey as it might have looked one thousand years ago, when the Muwekma-Ohlone inhabited the area. The male quail is perched on a mortar carved from the same lozenge-shaped rock seen above.  The mortar and pestle was used to grind acorns and other seeds into flour.  The birds are in front of a Valley Oak (Quercus lobata) whose acorns are fit for human consumption only after grinding and leaching to remove bitter tannins.

BOTTOM:  A covey as the birds look now, occupying the same tract in Woodside.  This time their home range incorporates a private residence that includes a small vineyard whose drip irrigation system, rows of grapevines, and perimeter of mostly native vegetation provide water, a protective grid that inhibits aerial predators, and an edge of dense cover. 

 


These three images suggest the ability of these birds to adapt to changing conditions.  The birds are not at risk in much of their range – 2,000,000 are hunted annually in California – but in suburban and surrounding semi-rural areas like Woodside, the birds are in decline.

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(left) Keeps on Ticking – Red-billed Oxpecker and Common (Plains) Zebra

12 x 29 inches watercolor and guache

2004

(right)

Ticked-Off – Red-billed Oxpecker and African Elephant 

12 x 29 inches watercolor and guache

2004

Oxpeckers and large fauna were formerly thought to be examples of mutualism.  More recently, the birds are seen as parasitic since the ticks they pluck are already engorged, and sipping blood from wounds doesn't seem to benefit the mammals. 

 

On the other hand, in these pictures the Oxpecker is near an ear where it can access both insects and wax.