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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wildlife Wednesday: Spring Has Definitely Sprung!


Seeing condors is pretty amazing, but 6 condors AND a golden eagle is simply stunning! Photo courtesy of David Schindler

Although we will not know the full impacts of California’s recent drought conditions for some time, there is plenty of cause to be concerned about what is being touted as the most severe water shortfall in centuries. This graphic from the U.S. Drought Monitor illustrates that pretty clearly:
 
Image source: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?CA
These links don't make the outlook any brighter:


With this kind of information, it’s easy to fall into despair and brace oneself for everything to come crashing down. Fortunately, there are some flowers blooming (even if it takes walking with your nose to the ground to find them), the Antelope Valley hills are beginning to turn green, and bird migration is adding incredible color/sound to the landscape. In the last two weeks of public access programs, Conservancy participants have collectively seen:
3 badgers
2 bobcats
12 golden eagles
Almost a dozen condors
2 Lewis’ woodpeckers
Migrating painted lady butterflies
Countless Lawrence’s goldfinches
Migrating warblers, orioles, pelicans, and other birds
And plenty more! Even though California’s state of drought will remain a significant problem for the foreseeable future- as well as a topic we will be discussing in future posts to this blog- we have a lot to celebrate in this magical time of year.


Here are a bunch of photos from the last few weeks of events:

An American badger sauntered in plain view of several participants during our 3/23/14 Intro to Birding trip. 


Two condors in Tejon Canyon 3/28/14. Photo courtesy of David Schindler

An acorn woodpecker peeks out of its cavity, perhaps in an effort to protect chicks/eggs. Photo courtesy of Dave Collins





An acmon/lupine blue in Los Alamos Canyon. Photo courtesy of Dave Collins
3/23 Intro to Birdwatching class. Photo courtesy of Dave Collins



Western kingbird. Photo courtesy of Chuck Noble

The view up El Paso Canyon on 3/30/14



Desert figwort (Scrophularia desertorum). 
Barn owl being released back into the wild. Photo courtesy of John Barrios
Red-tailed hawk. Photo courtesy of Chuck Noble

Echo(?) azure on Erodium sp. 



California Ground Squirrel. Photo courtesy of Chuck Noble
Cooper's hawk being released back into the wild. Photo courtesy of John Barrios



A great Antelope Valley landscape. Photo courtesy of Dave Collins
Much needed clouds look good on this thirsty landscape.