Desert Riparian

During your travels this summer, if you find yourself looking out the car window at a scene like this, do the following: pull over, grab your binoculars, a bottle of water, a sturdy walking stick to beat back the snakes, put on some sunscreen, and get as close as you can to the action!  This lush cottonwood, willow, and mesquite seam yielded western & summer tanagers, Bullock’s orioles, yellow-breasted chats, Bell’s vireos, Nashville and yellow warblers, black-headed and blue grosbeak, western kingbirds, ash-throated and brown-crested flycatchers, and phainopepla.  The arid hillside leading down to it sang with black-throated sparrows, Scott’s orioles, Costa’s hummingbirds, black-tailed gnatcatchers, Gambel’s quail, white-winged doves, and verdin.  All this and I probably missed a dozen species due to inexperience!

Our trip to the Kern River Preserve in a couple of weeks is a similar setting, with similar action.   Add to the list, yellow-billed cuckoos and indigo buntings.  They have a visitor center with feeders and nature trails.  Check our events calendar if you might be interested.

Black-crowned Night-Heron & Snowy Egret Rookery

A victory for the birds!  Thank you to our conservation chair, Mary Parsell for her heroic efforts in protecting the nesting black-crowned night herons and snowy egrets in this tree.  This juvenile black-crowned (one of at least a dozen) has favorable odds of making it into adulthood.

West Fork of San Gabriel

Big thanks to those who participated on this walk.  A very pleasant Sunday morning dose of nature.  Click on this link to see some pics!

Checking Bluebird Boxes

blue I’ve enjoyed walking a route and checking bluebird nest boxes in El Dorado Park for the past several years.  This year, I was fortunate enough to be able to share the experience with a handful of community members.  Baby bluebirds seem like a
potentially  promising mechanism to connect the next generation to the wonders of nature.  We put the boxes up in late February and checked them on May 14.  Eggs, newly hatched babies, fledglings, and…. two boxes with house wrens!

This season, there’s only three of us walking routes and we have many boxes sitting idle in a garage that never got placed.  If you think you might be interested in this sort of activity for next year, shoot us an email and we’ll hook you up!

P.S. Sorry Michael, this was the best picture that I had.


Big Morongo and Whitewater Canyon

Those of us willing to risk the dangers of this adventure (read the sign) were rewarded with sightings of summer tanagers, brown-crested and vermilion flycatchers, yellow-breasted chats, and Lawrence’s goldfinches.  It is interesting to note that the intrepid and vigilant birders pictured above also happen to be standing on the San Andreas Fault.

Vermilion Flycatcher

This is a bird worth looking for.  They are desert birds that you can reliably find further afield at locations like Big Morongo Canyon Preserve and Cibola NWR along the Colorado River.  They are attracted to golf courses, parks, and ball fields and are becoming increasingly common toward the coast.  You can now find them closer to home at Prado Regional Park, Mile Square Park, and scattered other locations.