This past Sunday I had the opportunity to visit the Wind Wolves Preserve on the far SW end of the Central Valley with a group from the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum.
There is an amazing amount of water on the preserve and lots of blooming rabbit brush right now. There is still the occasional milkweed plant throughout the grasslands hosting visiting Monarchs. The preserve has year round water in San Emigdio Canyon and springs throughout it's 95,000 acres.
The following butterflies were seen at the visitor's education center on rabbit brush in just a few minutes of looking. There is a free flowing year-round stream nearby.
Anise Swallowtail 1 Fresh.
Common Buckeye 30+ From fresh to very worn. In size from quite small to large. Many other individuals seen throught the day on rabbit brush.
Gray Hairstreak 4 All very worn.
Checkered White? 1 Very fresh with folded fore and hind wing tips. See photo.
Monarch 5 Also saw many individual Monarchs on the wing throughout the day in many locations on the back roads within the preserve.
Grass Skippers 3 They were three distinct species, but I didn't have the time to ID them.
I'm sure some time spent at the stream crossings and at springs would have produced more species, but I wasn't able to do that. Too bad.
Wind Wolves Preserve is an amazingly beautiful place. Though not open to the general public, one can arrange weekend reservations or best yet go with a specific interest group. The biodiversity there is amazing. Perhaps LANABA can arrange a field trip there sometime in the future. I think it would be very worthwhile.