June 21, 2021 Corbin Canyon

I discovered this area last year and since then have been making regular visits. A nice thing about it is it doesn't get crowded. I also like it because I feel like I am helping to fill in gaps in data that hasn't been recorded in inaturalist, as this area really hasn't been explored much by our colleagues.

This year, like everywhere else in Southern California and indeed in the whole southwest, things have been very dry and really depressing to witness. In anticipation of the ever present and growing threat of wildfires, it appears that various entities have been engaging in weed whacking dry brush. MRCA manages this area and in some ways they've done a great job. They have planted several native trees and come and water them regularly to ensure their success.

However in mid May they began to week whack all the dry brush. I understand the need to keep this area under control since it is near human habitation, but I was really upset to see this begin still in breeding season. I know fire season is year round now, but to take away habitat, even if it is dry habitat and potentially impact birds, rodents and rabbits just doesn't seem right. I think they easily could have waited a month or so.

In addition, they mowed down at least one milkweed plant as well as several other native plants or areas where native plants might have begun to sprout. Yesterday when I got there, it still looked as barren as the previous visit; however, it seems to have recovered just slightly as it seemed like I saw and heard more wildlife than my prior visit when it was totally dead. I am positive the weed whacking has had a deleterious effect on the wildlife in the area. And on a side note, in another area I visit occasionally, whoever was in charge of brush remediation had used a bulldozer (it was parked there) and there was a huge branch of a native walnut tree that was broken and hanging by a few strands of wood.

As to the positive things I saw....it's always great to see a coyote and I did see the resident coyote who has probably benefited from the dry grass removal. In addition a few wasps and dragonflies are beginning to appear....though I saw these beyond the area that was mowed. And in keeping with my goal of finding tiny things, I found what I think are thrips, but not sure, on a laurel sumac leaf. These were so small, they were difficult to see with the naked eye and I'm surprised I got any photos at all. You must look closely at the heavily cropped photos to see them. And it was nice to see that some kingbirds that apparently bred in the area as I saw a family group of three (a really poor distant photo).

Posted by naturephotosuze naturephotosuze, June 23, 2021 01:40

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Coyote (Canis latrans)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

June 21, 2021 10:03 AM PDT

Description

Corbin Canyon

Photos / Sounds

What

Thrips (Order Thysanoptera)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

June 21, 2021 11:41 AM PDT

Description

Corbin Canyon
Very difficult to see as these guys were super small and running around on this sumac leaf. The second photo is a better view but the bug is on the leaf edge so more difficult to see. The third photo is of two mating on the leaf edge. I'm surprised any of these came out as I could barely see them

Photos / Sounds

What

Cassin's Kingbird (Tyrannus vociferans)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

June 21, 2021 12:23 PM PDT

Description

Corbin Canyon
Too far away for specific ID but wanted to post as it is a family group. The kingbirds have been here all spring and glad to see they appear to have a chick

Comments

This post really yanked at my heartstrings and it just hurts. Susan, you hit the nail on the head that people are not taking into account what their preventive actions do to nature and how deleterious it is for the ecosystem. Andrea just made a similar comment about the brush clearance without regard to natives, trees, etc. It's terrible and there must be better ways.

Thank goodness you found some rebirth and opportunistic inhabitants making the best of it. Really appreciate your post. Thank you so much.

Posted by scubabruin 3 months ago (Flag)

You’re welcome Laura. Thanks for your response and I appreciate your kind words.. What’s really irksome is we are losing animals left and right...numbers are down. And then we make it even worse. It’s tragic and I feel so powerless to prevent it.

Posted by naturephotosuze 3 months ago (Flag)

Thanks for the introduction to Corbin Canyon!

The "fire abatement" programs in California are putting unprecedented funds toward these clearing activities. Grants galore. It looks like Corbin might be part of the SM Mountains Conservancy? I wonder if Cal Fire is on the abatement frontline there. They are very active in clearing, mastication, prescribed burns. I've been digging into the state's plan and the fire budget is HUGE. Horrifyingly, 97% is dedicated to backcountry thinning and clearing. This will not help our fire woes. Ugh. I need to write to Sacramento!

If'n anyone is interested in more fire intel from a nature-loving perspective, I am impressed with the Chaparral Institute. They have all sorts of info and programs to inform about our exquisite native habitats and how to live smartly/kindly within them. https://californiachaparral.org

I cannot believe you saw those thrips. Remarkably small! Have you ever taken specimens and put them under a microscope for observation pics? It's enticing...mostly with specimens found dead already ;-)

Posted by redrovertracy 3 months ago (Flag)

Thanks Tracy for your comments and thanks for sharing the info about the fire “prevention” budget. I think for a lot of the people who manage these things they think only of what’s a quick and cheap way to help with fire prevention...let’s just clear some brush.

And yes, Corbin is managed by the mountains conservancy agency. Their trucks are parked there frequently and were there on the days they were doing the brush clearing. I can also picture our government officials bragging about how many acres of dead brush they’ve cleared. Never a thought of how many animals were impacted or how much native habitat was destroyed. There seems to be an aversion to enlisting the help of actual scientists in these things. And thanks also for the reminder on the chaparral institute. I ran across them awhile back but haven’t checked their website lately.

As for the thrips, It would be cool to look at those thrips under a microscope. I have one but it was something my dad bought when I was a kid so I’m not sure it’s very good. And yes, they would have to be dead. I don’t have it in me to intentionally kill one.

Posted by naturephotosuze 3 months ago (Flag)

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