I was gone for a few days attending a couple different conferences – when I returned, I was surprised to see how many of the fields near our campground were coming alive with pink sand verbena I couldn’t wait to see what that meant for Coyote Canyon, which had been the best area around, especially since the temps had cooled, and a bit more rain fell Sunday night.
Well I was shocked when I arrived at Coyote Canyon to find most the wildflowers were gone! I was driving along in disbelief when Janine noticed the dirt road ahead of us almost appeared to be moving. At closer look, we could see hundreds of caterpillars crawling around in every direction! It appears they have wiped out the wildflowers in this area.
Fortunately, as we checked around some other areas that are just coming into bloom, areas like Borrego Palm Canyon, so far haven’t been effected by the caterpillars. The last time we were in Borrego Palm Canyon, it was looking nice, I’ll be back there soon for an update.
There is another beneficiary to all the caterpillars, and that is the Swainson’s Hawk. As the “Hawk Guy” Hal Cohen has explained it, the large concentrations of hawks that show up here on migration this time of year would quickly wipe out the rodent / rabbit / squirrel population if they were to feed on such animals. On migration, caterpillars is there food of choice. So what might not be good for some of the wildflowers, is certainly good for the hawk.