Yesterday on a warm March day I went to under-visited 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)
Open sunrise to sunset, Wildwood State Park was acquired in 2013, and hosts diverse wildlife, and great examples of chaparral and Riversidian sage scrub plant communities, along with valley grasslands in open areas and 250 year old interior live oaks.
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.
My biggest fascination was watching dozens of Carpenter Bees and European honeybees that had taken over Hunt Ranch’s decaying buildings.
Here are some photos from my mid-morning walk.