February 23, 2021 Alpine Butte and Blalock Wildlife Sanctuaries

Since the weather forecast looked good for the desert (low 70's and only 10 mph winds), I headed out there again to see if anything was happening yet in terms of new spring growth. First, I visited the Alpine Butte Wildlife Sanctuary. Sadly, it was very, very dry. In wet years, there is a lot of Mojave lupine growing as well as other flowers. While it is much too early in the season to predict flower bloom, the fact that I only saw a few green shoots--mostly canaigre plants, was discouraging. I did however, find another one of my favorite little bugs, the edrotes ventricosus. These beetles had not been reported in either of these sanctuaries until I found them this year--probably because they are out early in the year and most people don't visit these areas except in spring. Anyway, they are such cute little beetles. I also saw at least 10 side-blotched lizards, most of whom were smaller juveniles but at least 2 full grown adults.

Next I stopped at Blalock which is higher in elevation and much moister in terms of the soil. I didn't really find a whole lot, perhaps because it was later in the day and a bit cooler than Alpine Butte. But I did find a couple of really cool bugs...some sort of stink/shield bug as well as a nice weevil, Apleurus angularis. My most unique find was what looks like a wasps' nest on a juniper berry. I went over to the juniper tree thinking that there had to be at least one insect over there with all the ripe to past ripe juniper berries and I saw something on a berry that I thought was a gall. However when I looked at it in close up after taking the photo, it appears to be a wasp nest of some sort. I haven't been able to narrow anything down yet but there do appear to be many insects that inhabit juniper trees. Once again, it pays to look at things very closely.

My count of helium balloons for the day---six. I brought those with me to dispose of them.

Posted on February 24, 2021 07:05 PM by naturephotosuze naturephotosuze

Observations

Photos / Sounds

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

February 23, 2021 03:11 PM PST

Description

Blalock Wildlife Sanctuary

Photos / Sounds

What

Creosote Stink Bug (Dendrocoris contaminatus)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

February 23, 2021 03:20 PM PST

Description

Blalock Wildlife Sanctuary
On a creosote bush

Insects

Photos / Sounds

What

Aitanga Pepeke (Insects) (Class Insecta)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

February 23, 2021 04:16 PM PST

Description

Blalock Wildlife Sanctuary
I'm assuming this is some sort of wasp nest on a juniper berry? I couldn't locate any info on this but I didn't do any in-depth research yet

Photos / Sounds

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

February 23, 2021 12:47 PM PST

Description

Alpine Butte Wildlife Sanctuary
These guys are so cute...glad I found one here

Comments

I love reading your posts. I’ve been up to the LA county desert several times, but never to Blalock or Alpine Butte; should check those out sometime! Nice finds. E. ventricosus are indeed really cool little insects.
Good of you to pick up the balloons. Unfortunate that they’re so common a sight.

Posted by ectothermist almost 3 years ago

Thank you so much! I love exploring the desert as long as it’s not too hot. If you look at a map, there are several of these “sanctuaries” in the Antelope valley. They look pretty desolate when you drive up to them but if you look hard enough you find things and they aren’t overrun with people like Joshua Tree.

Posted by naturephotosuze almost 3 years ago

Very cool. Hidden gems for the naturalist. :) The desert rewards exploration for any willing to look.

Posted by ectothermist almost 3 years ago

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