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.
The drought here in California — we’ve received less than 8 inches of rain here in Redlands — is encouraging much discussion on how to reduce water usage. I’ve written a lot about our use of California natives in our landscaping so I want to reference some of my popular articles on why they’re a great solution.
First, a quick review of why to choose natives (which applies wherever you live): [Read more…]
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)
It’s springtime in the nature world. We came across two mating lizard couples yesterday while many others are running around like cuckoos trying to get into the game. (… looked up cuckoos and they’re a family of birds that include roadrunners.) The season of love has also struck other animal species. Two of our birdhouses are being prepped by busy Bewick’s wrens. And out in the chaparral and desert, male rattlesnakes are getting territorial, lifting their fronts up to challenge one another.
I thought I would get some answers to things I ponder when observing our yard’s lizards, so I asked Robert Fisher, a biologist with the USGS in San Diego and co-author of A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians in Coastal Southern California.
Here is what I learned: [Read more…]
The daylight’s savings time change made it harder but I’m so glad I attended the Redlands Conservancy birdwatching event this morning at San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary (click here for previous article on this special preserve in Redlands CA). Allyson Beckman, who helps monitor endangered species as a field biologist with the Santa Ana Watershed Association, shared her significant knowledge. She’s also helped usher in a success story at the preserve with the endangered Least Bell’s Vireo, a small bird whose appearance is more gray than yellow in the West. Numbers tell it best: fifteen years ago a colleague of hers documented 5 males. Last year: 151.
Here are my takeaways from Beckman’s walking talk about the local and migrant birds found in San Timoteo Canyon. [Read more…]
We’ve had two birds die from hitting windows over the last two weeks. It used to happen in our last house, which featured big picture windows facing a canyon. But now I think the native plant and wildlife friendly habitat we’ve nurtured is bringing more birds to our Redlands CA house.
Here are some suggestions from several bird organizations: the Audubon Society, the American Bird Conservancy and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, along with a local bird expert. [Read more…]
An op-ed article I wrote for the Redlands Daily Facts, entitled “Understanding the Consequences of Asian Psyllid Treatment,” is being published tomorrow. It was prompted when I noted that articles were not mentioning the negative effects of the recommended pesticide treatments for an alarming pest that is attacking citrus trees. Some important background first: our area is resuming treatments for the Asian Citrus Psyllid, the bug responsible for devastating Florida citrus, which has made its way to Southern California. Most commercial groves have been treated. Now residents have the option to have their backyard citrus trees treated. Many of these points apply these common pesticides being used of other uses also.
Here are my main points after doing research on this subject, plus references are listed below: [Read more…]