Blalock WIldlife Sanctuary and surroundings 5/14/2021

I made yet another visit to this amorphous place in the Antelope Valley. I feel like, in general, the Antelope Valley remains ripe for exploration. It doesn't have any iconic attractions and to all outside appearances, there doesn't seem to be a lot going on. Much of the land is degraded from ranching, dairy, farming, trash and the assorted things that draw some people to the desert for less than noble reasons.

Last time I was at this location, there were maybe 2-3 flowers blooming and everything looked pretty dry. This time, about a month later, most of the creosote bushes were in bloom and there were a few brittlebush that had a few partial flowers remaining on them. But it was still very dry. And I only saw a couple of side-blotched lizards. I think reptiles might be suffering this year in many places as I definitely am seeing fewer than in the past.

In spite of the conditions, I had some interesting finds and one exciting moment when I accidentally flushed a pair of nighthawks. Bird life is relatively low in this area though there are always ravens patrolling and I did see/hear a few small sparrows and finches. But to actually find a nighthawk is pretty cool. Once again though I did not have my telephoto lens and I managed only a distant shot of one of the birds that flew a few feet away. Normally I would try and sneak up on a bird and try and get a closer shot; however, I was concerned that they might be nesting so I opted to forego a better photo and give them some space.

In addition to the nighthawks, there were probably hundreds of acmaeodera beetles in the area. This seems to be a good year for them in general and I counted more than 50 on one brittlebush plant. They may be concentrated though because there were so few flowers.

I also found some interesting leaf hoppers on a yucca plant as well as a chalcidoid wasp that is a first record for inaturalist. Finally, I saw a new butterfly on a plant by the roadside: a Behr's hairstreak. I had never even heard of this butterfly so I was really happy to find it. I even found a couple more a few miles away when I stopped by the road to examine some other brittlebush plants.

The beauty of exploration is that you never know what you might find. Summer is almost here so I'm not sure how many more trips I'll make but with new seasons comes new life, so I think I might be back.

Posted by naturephotosuze naturephotosuze, May 15, 2021 05:58

Observations

Photos / Sounds

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

May 11, 2021 11:21 AM PDT

Description

Blalock Wildlife Sanctuary
On a yucca plant

Photos / Sounds

What

Behr's Hairstreak (Satyrium behrii)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

May 11, 2021 12:24 PM PDT

Description

Blalock Wildlife Sanctuary
On brittlebush

Photos / Sounds

What

Lesser Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

May 11, 2021 01:22 PM PDT

Description

Blalock Wildlife Sanctuary
One of a pair I accidentally flushed. Unfortunately I had to take this with my macro lens...definitely the best find of the day..curious if they might be nesting in this area.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

May 11, 2021 12:02 PM PDT

Description

Blalock Wildlife Sanctuary
On a Joshua Tree leaf

Photos / Sounds

What

Planthoppers (Superfamily Fulgoroidea)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

May 11, 2021 12:04 PM PDT

Description

Blalock Wildlife Sanctuary
On a Joshua Tree leaf

Photos / Sounds

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

May 11, 2021 01:06 PM PDT

Description

Blalock Wildlife Sanctuary

Comments

Nice finds. The northern LA desert does reward exploration despite its apparent barrenness.

Posted by ectothermist 7 months ago (Flag)

Thanks! Right--unfortunately I'm not as good as you at finding the scorpions and herps! But I'm not sure the area I was in is as rich in those as some further north at lower elevations.

Posted by naturephotosuze 7 months ago (Flag)

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