After several days of very strong Santa Ana winds and soaring temperatures, 12 members and guests enjoyed perfect weather for our visit to this well preserved coastal area. The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is one of Southern California's best remaining examples of a coastal salt marsh, with additional habitats including beach sand dune and coastal sage scrub.
We were extremely fortunate to have Vic Leipzip join us for the visit. Vic is the vice president of the large Sea & Sage Chapter of The Audubon Society and is quite familiar with the Reserve, its history, wildlife, current conservation status, restoration efforts underway and future needs. Vic is also an excellent birder and shared with us many aspects of the bird life at the Reserve, especially the abundant tern colonies.
As we walked we paused frequently and discussed such issues as invasive plants that have moved into the area, restoration issues and a few of the botanical mistakes that have been made, the former gun club on the mesa overlooking the marsh and the WWII installation of gun turrets as a part of a coast defense system.
Many intersting plants were seen and discussed included several species of saltbush (Atriplex), pickleweeds (Salicornia and Arnthrocnemum), aquatic eelgrass (Zostera marina), sSand verbenas (Abronia umbellatum and A. villosa), suncups (Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia and C. lewisii), dodders (Cuscuta campestris and C. pacifica) and invasive iceplants (Carpobrotus and Mesembryanthemum). Toward the conclusion of the visit we pased to observe and discuss the genus Baccharis. Just on the edge of the parking lot four species of Bacchharis all grow within a few feet of one another (Baccharis glutinosa, B. pilularis, B. salicina and B. salicifolia).
132 species of plants were seen either today or during the pre trip check on Thursday. All of the attendees have a much better understanding and appreciaction for this rare piece of land and the remarkable ecology and plant and animal life that it supports.