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Butterbredt Springs Weekend Trip: 25-26 April, 2015

April 29, 2015

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It was a very special Spring outing to Butterbredt Spring. We do it annually, but this year was different: one of our founding members, who has hosted us for years, turned 90. That is an achievement in itself, but how many 90-year olds do you know who drive in fence posts and stretch wire across them to keep out errant motorcycles? I am referring to Keith Axelson, who became so fond of the beautiful Mojave desert that 20 years or so ago he left

Front porch birding (R.Seidner 4/25/15)

Front porch birding (R.Seidner 4/25/15)

Los Angeles and bought a property at a spring near Butterbredt and moved there. No telephone, gas or electricity, water only from his spring — and it’s beautiful. The spring supports large cottonwood trees and lots of watercress, and Keith has his own collection of trees. Wildlife is abundant and includes California Quail, Say’s Phoebes, Pine Siskins, various warblers, Lazuli Bunting, Western Screech-Owls, a local Bobcat, and Keith’s feeders attract many hummingbirds and finches.

Western Bluebird male off for some more bugs (R.Seidner 4/24/15)

Western Bluebird male off for some more bugs (R.Seidner 4/24/15)

Also nesting Western Bluebirds, two sets, feeding young at the nesting boxes. It is a pleasure to sit on his patio and watch. Before we head off for Keith’s, we spend Saturday morning at Butterbredt Spring, which is now under the ownership of California State Parks.

Cliff over Butterbredt spring (R.Seidner 4/24/15)

Cliff over Butterbredt spring (R.Seidner 4/24/15)

They have improved the access gate and put up a sign, listing Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society as one of the entities managing it, and declaring it to be an IBA — an Important Bird Area. Even at the wide space where we parked, there were birds. A pair of particularly colorful Ash-throated Flycatchers were cavorting on the fence, and mourning doves were everywhere. On the drive to the spring, one of us was delighted to spot a Golden Eagle. At the spring in the nearby dry wash were many Warblers: Wilson’s were abundant and MacGillivray’s caused much joy to those who saw them. Lawrence’s and Lesser Goldfinches were busy feeding young. Mr and Mrs Black-headed Grosbeak were present. We saw many hard-to-identify empids, including the Pacific-slope Flycatcher, as well as the similar Hammond’s Flycatcher.
Among the pleasures of going there in Spring is the wildflowers — including a strange thing looking like a mushroom with purple flowers on it called Broomrape, also known as scaly stemmed sand plant, which is parasitic on the roots of Burrobush or Cheesebush. Also Prince’s Plumes, Chia, Prickly Poppies, Paperbag Bushes, Desert Sunflowers, bright rose flowering Beavertail Cacti and Mormon Tea made this a very colorful walk.

Prince's Plume (R.Seidner 4/24/15)

Prince’s Plume (R.Seidner 4/24/15)

And then it was on to the party! You would have thought Keith would be overwhelmed by all the people there, – 17 or so, who assembled from great distances — but he had a constant smile on his face, and I believe he enjoyed every minute.
[Elizabeth Galton and Mary Prismon]

Still life with frog - Keith's lower pond(R.Seidner 4/25/15)

Still life with frog – Keith’s lower pond
(R.Seidner 4/25/15)


Butterbredt Spring 2015 2013 2012
Spring Trips 4/25-26 4/25-27 4/27-30
Mallard X
Mountain Quail X X
California Quail X X X
Chukar X X
Turkey Vulture X
Golden Eagle X
Sharp-shinned Hawk X
Swainson’s Hawk X
Red-tailed Hawk X X X
American Coot X
Killdeer X
Eurasian Collared-Dove X X X
Mourning Dove X X X
Greater Roadrunner X
Western Screech-Owl X X
Great Horned Owl X
Common Poorwill X
Anna’s Hummingbird X X
Costa’s Hummingbird X X X
Rufous Hummingbird X
Ladder-backed Woodpecker X X
Nuttall’s Woodpecker X X X
Northern Flicker X
American Kestrel X
Olive-sided Flycatcher X
Western Wood-Pewee X
Hammond’s Flycatcher X X
Dusky Flycatcher X
Pacific-slope Flycatcher X X X
Say’s Phoebe X X
Ash-throated Flycatcher X X X
Cassin’s Kingbird X
Western Kingbird X X
Loggerhead Shrike X X
Cassin’s Vireo X X X
Warbling Vireo X X
Western Scrub-Jay X X
Common Raven X X X
Bushtit X X X
Red-breasted Nuthatch X
White-breasted Nuthatch X
Rock Wren X X
Bewick’s Wren X X X
Cactus Wren X X
Ruby-crowned Kinglet X X X
Western Bluebird X X
Townsend’s Solitaire X
Hermit Thrush X X
California Thrasher X
Northern Mockingbird X
European Starling X X
Phainopepla X
Orange-crowned Warbler X X X
Nashville Warbler X X
MacGillivray’s Warbler X X
Common Yellowthroat X
Yellow Warbler X X X
Yellow-rumped Warbler X X
Black-throated Gray Warbler X
Townsend’s Warbler X X
Hermit Warbler X
Wilson’s Warbler X X X
Green-tailed Towhee X
Spotted Towhee X X
California Towhee X X
Chipping Sparrow X X
Brewer’s Sparrow X
Black-throated Sparrow X
Bell’s Sparrow X X
Fox Sparrow X
Song Sparrow X
Lincoln’s Sparrow X X
White-throated Sparrow X
White-crowned Sparrow X X
Golden-crowned Sparrow X X X
Dark-eyed Junco X
Western Tanager X X X
Black-headed Grosbeak X X
Lazuli Bunting X X X
Red-winged Blackbird X X X
“Bicolored” Blackbird X
Western Meadowlark X
Brewer’s Blackbird X
Brown-headed Cowbird X
Hooded Oriole X
Bullock’s Oriole X X
Scott’s Oriole X X
House Finch X X X
Pine Siskin X
Lesser Goldfinch X X
Lawrence’s Goldfinch X X
Total Species – 90 37 58 69

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