|Inlets from the ocean snaking through the marshes|
It had been years since I had been to the Nature Center. I was impressed with how much it had expanded and how well it was run. Perhaps, it was the time of year, fall -almost winter ( winter starts December 21st), we had a clear and beautiful sight of the whole marsh and the bay, and the city beyond. The pictures do not do it any justice.
I never realized how many endangered species of birds and plants call the Sweetwater Marsh Wildlife Refuge home. Gunpowder Point on the marsh is only known native US population of Palmer's Frankenia (Frankenia Palmeri Wats). Cuttings from the 2 surviving colony is being propagated. It was interesting to learn about halophytes like the endangered Saltmarsh Bird's Beak (cordylanthus maritimus) also found on the marsh. I was impressed at how the Nature Center was breeding and returning back to the wild the light footed clapper bird, which was almost extinct. More than 300 birds have been released into the wild todate. Such great work done so close to home and I was unaware until duty called.
|The Saltmarsh Bird's Beak - extra salt is excreted out making it look like the plant is sprinkled with sugar|
I truly enjoyed the outside exhibits particularly of the owls which is a current favorite of mine. I am sporting a little owl ring on my pointer finger. They were hiding in their habitat and I only had my iphone with me to take photos so I do not have any good shots to share. However, I have a picture of the snowy egret to share. The reflection on the water almost more `real' than the bird itself!
There was a beautiful patch of pricky pear cactus that was in full bloom and fruiting. I am definitely putting a patch of them in Temecula.
|Agave Palmeri and Yucca Baccata|
|Seahorse hugging the seaweed with its tail|
The squids with their bulging eyes are both gross and adorable at the same time. Are they baby squids or a type of squid that is small?
|Those bulging eyes seem to stare straight at you|
|Almost the size of a small lobster|
Wow! What Star presence! Aren't they beautiful? Each different but equally enchanting!
|Four beautiful and different Starfishes. Sea Urchin in foreground|
|The Starfish looks like it is studded with pearls|
|So Patrick the Starfish ala Sponge Bob|
So now I am imagining a tank of all these beautiful creatures; seahorses, squids, starfishes and maybe some shrimps. Hmm, can they all live together?