Whitewater Preserve~

Is a 2,851 acre protected nature and wildlife preserve,

located in the southern California desert and extending up into the adjacent San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains.

These photos were taken in late October.

Southern California is still in the worst drought in memory,

but the year round Whitewater River is still actively flowing in the desert, aided by earthquake faults trapping water run off from Southern California’s tallest mountain, the 11,500 foot Mt. Gorgonio.

This geological anomaly creates a natural oasis,

that sustains a host of wildlife including bear, bighorn sheep, and mountain lion,

as well as plants, palms and flowers, all in the midst of the baking hot desert.

Cheers to you from Whitewater Preserve~

For more information on the preserve see: https://wildlandsconservancy.org/preserves/whitewater

Escape~

To the desert, (click to enlarge)

following the clouds,

hoping to watch the rain,

bathe the sand.

The clouds came,

but not the rain.

La Quinta Resort built in 1926,

has seen many rainless days and nights.

Cheers to you from the cloudy desert~

Holler Folk~

We have only the best sort of critters at The Holler, like this Western Scrub Jay,

and this always ready for his close up,

California thrasher.

Hummers are always humming at The Holler,

but for Bullocks orioles,

The Holler is just one of their many vacation homes.

The female,

and male grosbeaks, are also only seasonal visitors,

but baby house finches call Holler home.

Cheers to you from The Holler folk~

Southern California Flutterbyes~

Butterflies thrive in our warm climate.

Swallowtails,

Cloudless Sulfurs,

and Gulf Fritillaries are locals.

Swallowtails mating.

Queen.

But the Monarchs are the show stoppers now.

They are a threatened species, so seeing them is a special treat.

Cheers to you from from the Southern California Flutterbyes~

A New Species~

These gorgeous creatures,

are Grey Buckeye Butterflies,

a newly identified sub-species, found in south western North America. The species was first identified in 2016.

Grey Buckeyes are genetically and morphologically distinct and from Eastern Buckeye Butterflies.

All I know is they are beautiful and I love having them here!

Cheers to you from the beautiful Grey Buckeyes~

For More Information on the identification of this newly identified species see:

https://phys.org/news/2018-11-butterfly-species.html

Black Beauty~

Great Tailed Grackles are fun birds to watch.

You find them easily by following their loud and distinctive vocalizations.

They chatter, sing, whistle and shriek. (I included a link at the end of this post if you are interested in listening to the diversity of their songs and calls.)

But mostly they sing like this happy guy. Grackles are always at least as interested in you as you are in them!

They are devoted people watchers.

Cheers to you from the cheerful grackles~

Here is a sampling of their vocalizations:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Great-tailed_Grackle/sounds

Wings~

Hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world. Anna’s weigh about .14 ounce, but they can fly at speeds of up to 60 mph.

Unlike other birds they can fly backwards and upside down, and they are among the 1% of birds who can hover.

Hummers fly upright, not flat like other birds.

Their wings rotate 180 degrees, on their shoulder ball and socket joints,

and can beat up to 200 times per minute!

Despite their petite size, hummingbirds have mega-brains. Their brains constitute 4.2% of their body weight, greater than any other bird, and greater than human beings whose brains are about 2% of their body mass. Hummers remember how to fly thousands of miles, they know and remember which humans can be counted on to feed them, and they remember which flowers have the best nectar.

Cheers to you from the small but mighty hummer~

Seconds~

The most,

hummers get,

to rest,

all day.

Their daylight hours are spent packing on calories,

to survive their torporous nights.

Cheers to you from the resting hummers~

(Click the photos to enlarge if you would like to see more detail.)