Friday, November 8, 2013

Batiqiotos Lagoon

Before I begin this posting I would like to share with you the great beauty we have right outside our door everyday- when the sun is shining.  This daisy-like flower opens up only when there is a lot of sunshine, otherwise its bloom is closed.  Another wonderful surprise near our home is a magnolia tree which is starting to bloom.  Since we have been in southern California, for some strange reason John and I have felt no desire to explore museums or art galleries.  Guess we are getting to be like the citizens of this state, it is all about the great outdoors and the sunshine.  A couple of days ago John and I biked the San Luis River Trail and Wednesday we did some hiking in Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center as well as Batiqiotos Lagoon.

Along the path in the picture above is a strand of Eucalyptus, a tree native to Australia.  It has naturalized in California, invading native plant habitats.  The leaves and seed pods have pungent oils in them which prevent native plants from growing underneath the trees.  We had first stopped at the Audubon Nature Center before Batiquiotos Lagoon hoping to see some birds.  This area is along the Pacific Flyway, the annual migratory route for millions of birds passing through en route to winter or summer destinations.  However, we saw very little bird activity at the nature center in Oceanside (probably it is too soon for the migratory birds to be flying through), so we drove over to Carlsbad were the lagoon is located.  The lagoon is one of the few remaining tidal wetlands on the southern California coast.  There have been many attempts to develop it into an amusement park or home development, fortunately not of them panned out.
There was a lot of bird activity going on in the lagoon, and we more heard the birds than saw them.  Frequently some sort of yellow warbler swooped in front of us- always moving too fast for us to identify him, but we did see the bright splash of yellow feathers.  Bush tits were twittering among the scrub, and we did see large numbers of them when they flew out from the brush.  The gurgling konk-la-reee sound of the red-winged blackbird could be heard in the marsh among the cattails where they were hanging out.  I was also pleased to hear the mewing of gnatcatchers, and we did see them too.  Hardly a day passes when we see hummingbirds, Anna's hummingbird stays in southern California all year.  Along the trail we saw the tobacco tree which blooms all year.  Hummingbirds love its long yellow flowers.
In case you are wondering how I came by this information, we had a self-guided trail guide for the lagoon.  Had we not had that brochure we would have missed seeing a wood rat's nest, nor would we have thought to look up in the trees to see a heron's nest!  Another interesting feature of the lagoon is a man-made sand nesting site of the least tern and snowy plover- unfortunately it is only in the spring when they are here.

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