Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wildlife Runs Wild at WSC!

Summer is here, and at the WSC, the wildlife is active all day long. Our location along the edge of the Southwestern Riverside County Multi-Species Preserve means we enjoy all the benefits - and drawbacks - of having Nature as our next-door neighbor!

While we do have to endure the occasional invasion of the museum by the likes of the Chapparal Whipsnake or Wolf Spider, we also get to enjoy the many species of birds and mammals that call the DVL area their home. In the dawn or sunset hours, visitors might see a family of Desert Cottontails or a Black-tailed Jack Rabbit. Many ground-nesting birds have settled down in the bushes near the WSC, including Mourning Doves and several families of California Quail, and their distinctive calls can be clearly heard in the morningtime. The nearby lake attracts waterfowl like Killdeer, and even bald eagles have been reportedly seen nearby, though they've likely flown north until cooler weather returns later this year.

The WSC is also playing host to a small flock of Cliff Swallows, who have made themselves at home under the alcove at the south end of the building. San Juan Capistrano can eat its heart out, because you can come view this active swallow colony right here in the Inland Empire! These fascinating birds build nests out of mud that attach to cliffs and overhangs, and they're constantly active around them, moving in and out and around - it's amazing to see their aerial agility. Below are some pictures of the nests, courtesy of Larry Knoepfel at the DVL Visitor's Center. If you're here to visit anytime soon, make sure to take a stroll south down the path towards the Simulated Dig Site, and tell these red-throated beauties hello!


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