Salton Sea Tour highlights… burrowing owls, sandhill cranes, shorebirds aplenty

Salton Sea Tour highlights… burrowing owls, sandhill cranes, shorebirds aplenty

Last weekend my husband and I did a Salton Sea tour through the Living Desert Museum in Palm Desert, led by College of the Desert professor Kurt Leuschner. For those who don’t know Kurt, he is a birding, wildlife and ecologist extraordinaire. We saw so many birds, and learned so much –including debunked myths about this amazing place.

Below are some photos and takeaways.  [Read more…]

Wildlife Aplenty on an Hour Walk at Wildwood Canyon State Park

Wildlife Aplenty on an Hour Walk at Wildwood Canyon State Park

A rattlesnake, numerous species of butterflies, cliff swallows bathing…….  I’m so glad I went, even though I had only an hour for a quick walk while my husband was at an art class. I chose Wildwood Canyon State Park in Yucaipa CA, which I wrote about in this initial March visit and this other March hike to Hunt Ranch.

Great place – no one there on a Monday late morning.

It had rained a couple nights prior so parts of the trails were moist – which attracted many butterflies getting minerals. I previously wrote about butterflies and puddle parties.

Lesson learned…. if you’re thinking about a short trek to a wild area – do it!

[Read more…]

Great Hikes (and Camping): Wind Wolves Preserve

Great Hikes (and Camping): Wind Wolves Preserve

If you’re looking for a place in the southern half of California to hike or camp that features few people, running streams and waterfalls, and a wild land full of wildlife, head to Wind Wolves Preserve. As word gets out this place it won’t feel so remote very long.

Set aside by Wildlands Conservancy in 1996, photos from our recent June trip best illustrate its specialness. [Read more…]

Taking the Trail to Wildwood Canyon’s Hunt Ranch

Taking the Trail to Wildwood Canyon’s Hunt Ranch

Yesterday on a warm March day I went to Wildwood Canyon State Park in Yucaipa and took the short 2 mile roundtrip Water Canyon Trail to Hunt Ranch. If you’re looking for a mix of wildlife (particularly birds and butterflies) amidst mature California oak trees and a decaying but beautiful ranch and outbuildings — this is a good one. Hunt Ranch was the former Wildwood Lodge resort built in the 1920s that investors hoped to turn into a country club development. (more history at this website)

I wrote an earlier post on this under-appreciated state park, which gives an overview. [Read more…]

Great Hikes: San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary

Great Hikes: San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary

If you’re looking for a trail with relatively flat terrain for walking, horseback-riding, or cycling, which offers a high chance of seeing wildlife along its creek or emerging from the hills, San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary might be your place. This undiscovered place in Redlands CA also offers a lot of solitude. [Read more…]

Oak Glen Preserve in Spring

Oak Glen Preserve in Spring

On Sunday we went to one of our favorite spots, Oak Glen Preserve, up in Oak Glen CA, which I wrote up in this post last fall.

It’s wonderful in fall, and equally wonderful in spring — or any season you visit. Some photos are below. The ceanothus was alive with native bees, the acorn woodpeckers that were so busy gathering acorns last fall seemed to be bickering over nesting territory [Read more…]

Favorite Birding Spots in Inland Southern California

Favorite Birding Spots in Inland Southern California

In my previous post, For the Love of Hummingbirds, I mentioned Kurt Leuschner shared his favorite birding places in the Inland Empire and desert areas east of Los Angeles. Leuschner is a professor of natural resources at College of the Desert in Palm Desert and leads many birding and nature walks.  Here they are [Read more…]