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.I’m still not a great birder, but sitting still on the steps of the abandoned Hunt Ranch I was able to observe American goldfinches (males in bright breeding plumage), woodpeckers, mockingbirds, and plenty of other finches and Bewick’s and other wrens flitting here and there as they establish territories and mates. Plus a number of others I couldn’t identify. March and April are the best months for butterflies too.
The biggest delight was watching dozens of fighting carpenter bees. I bet Hunt Ranch’s decaying buildings host one of the highest populations of carpenter bees.
Here are some photos from my mid-morning walk.