|This map is provided near the entrance to guide visitors|
When I last visited just shy of one year ago, it was so dry the vernal pools (shown in pink in the map above) were empty despite the fact that it was the middle of our rainy season.
|This time, instead of dried mud, I saw this pool as I walked in. It's depth measured just over a foot and a half.|
Last year was the driest I can remember. We recorded just 3.88 inches of rain here between October 1, 2017 and September 30, 2018.* This year's rain total is already 276% of last year's total, albeit still short of our annual average.
I could hear birdsong from the moment I stepped inside the gate. And frogs! I haven't heard frogs croaking in years. I didn't have binoculars so I didn't do any proper birding but ducks, geese and herons were readily visible throughout the preserve.
A path my husband and I walked last year was submerged and impassable.
A friend of mine had visited the marsh several days before I did to take photos as inspiration for future paintings. Wild and unmanicured, I could see what impressed her about the landscape. The color contrasts and the reflections in the water created picturesque scenes.
|Tule, or wetland sedge, is visible throughout the areas with deeper water|
|Sometimes it was hard to tell what was solid and what was a reflection|
After leaving the preserve, I made a brief spin through the Nature Center's native garden across the street. There wasn't a lot in bloom - even landscapes in Southern California are muted during the winter months - but there was some floral color.
|Once again, signs weren't helpful in identifying species by their botanical names|
|Clockwise from the upper left, my best guess on plant IDs are Calliandra eriophylla (aka fairy duster), Ceanothus, Eriogonum (aka buckwheat), Encelia californica, Verbena lilacina, and I haven't a clue|
|Along with Encelia californica, Peritoma arborea (aka bladderpod, shown here) was the most common flowering plant in the preserve|
We got another three-quarters of an inch of rain yesterday and there are two more storms lined up to pelt us over the next few days. Spring at the marsh may be very lively this year. I hope to check it out again in April or May. According to Wikipedia, after the rain stops, the water level in the marsh drops about one-quarter of an inch (6mm) a day, drying it out entirely by the end of August until the rains return the following winter.
Have a wonderful weekend!
*"Rain years" in California are calculated from October 1st through September 30th of the following calendar year. Rain in SoCal is almost exclusively a winter/early spring phenomenon.
All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party