Naturalists BioBlitz Nearby Wildlife Sanctuary

Local photographers and naturalists explore Sycamore Canyon to document the wildlife corridor's plants, birds, mammals and reptiles.

1 min read
A woman in a green field with trees in the background
Auxenia Privett-Mendoza leads a BioBlitz team of nature photographers into Sycamore Canyon. Photo: Phil Hopkins

The first rule of BioBlitz is avoid getting flattened on arrival.

Pasadena-based nature photographer Tom Mills, laden with professional camera gear, successfully avoided a confrontation with onrushing morning traffic as he crossed busy Chevy Chase Drive at Glendale’s Sycamore Canyon. But later that day a misplaced step on a slippery hillside critter path landed the photographer on his ass.

“It was a soft landing,” Mills joked about the unscheduled BioBlitz sitz.

A BioBlitz is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time.

Mills and nine other local photographers and naturalists were exploring Sycamore Canyon in April to document the wildlife corridor’s plants, birds, mammals and reptiles. The one-day blitz was organized by the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy to record a snapshot of the canyon’s unique biodiversity. The survey team included certified California Naturalists, nature photographers and citizen scientists in addition to Auxenia Privett-Mendoza, the conservancy’s program director.

Map showing the BioBlitz area.
An aerial map of the 10-acre Sycamore Canyon BioBlitz site, with species locations indicated. Source: iNaturalist

A combination of mixed chaparral and oak woodlands with a seasonal stream, Sycamore Canyon is a relatively unobserved location in suburban Glendale near the western edge of Pasadena. It represents an important wildlife corridor connected with public open space to the north.

Local field biologist Mickey Long previously confirmed 40 native plant species resided in the canyon during an informal survey. The April BioBlitz revealed the habitat is actually home to 58 or more types of native plants, including Star Lillies and Creeping Snowberrys. In total, 115 species of animals and plants were identified during the event.

Summarized results of the Sycamore Canyon BioBlitz are available on iNaturalist.

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Phil Hopkins

Phil is the Associate Publisher of Local News Pasadena. He is a 35-year resident of the city and his favorite local delicacy is the Combo Grinder at Connal's.
Email: [email protected]

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