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By on March 29, 2022 in Featured, News, Newsletter


Photo by Nicole Kabey

A member of the flycatcher family, the Cassin’s kingbird (Tyrannus vociferans) feeds primarily on flying insects! They can often be spotted perched atop trees or on wires looking over open spaces in search of their next meal. This feisty bird flies out from its perch to catch its prey in mid-air using its beak and will often fly right back to the same perch to look for more passing insects! This feeding style is known as “sallying” and makes observing them quite easy as they typically will stay in one area for an extended period of time while they fill their belly. They feed on a wide variety of insects including wasps, grasshoppers, moths, ants and even spiders, just to name a few! If you spot one on your next hike, take some time to sit and observe, and see if you can witness them feeding in action! 


Photo by Nathan Wickstrum

Found on dry slopes and stony washes in coastal sage scrub and chaparral communities, wishbone bush (Mirabilis laevis) is a wonder to behold. The plant belongs to the genus Mirabilis, which in English translates to “wonderful” or “miraculous”. Fun fact: the plant’s common name “wishbone bush” is derived from the plant’s forked stems that resemble the furcula, a little fork shaped bone found in birds that is formed by the fusion of two clavicles. 

As of this February, wishbone bush is blooming throughout the south-facing slopes that make up Valley View Preserve, painting the hillsides with its vibrant magenta flowers. This wood stemmed perennial is primarily pollinated at night and its flowers tend to open up mid-afternoon, but it can also be found flowering in the morning. Wishbone bush makes for great ground cover and has a long bloom period lasting from December to July. 

Consider adding wishbone bush to your yard and bring the beauty of the preserves to your backyard! 

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