News from Watsonville Wetlands Watch
Harvest begins on Watsonville Slough
Native Seed Farm
In June, Watch restoration staff began the first harvest of native grass and wildflower seeds from our new seed farm, located on the Santa Cruz Land Trust’s Watsonville Slough Farm. We also constructed a new seed drying house which was donated to us by the Return of the Natives program at CSUMB. The harvest has been quite heavy and so far has exceeded our expectations for this first year. Our bins are filling with the 16 various native grass and wildflower species that we’ve grown, including California poppies, blue-eyed grass, purple needle grass, and many others. These seeds will be used to restore many new acres of native grassland throughout the sloughs in the years to come! See more photos here.
See Rare Blooming Tarplant
at our Annual Picnic
You and your family and friends are invited to join us for an old-fashioned picnic/potluck at Tarplant Hill on Saturday, August 6 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. We will celebrate summer with good food, good friends, bird watching, and a plant walk to see native plants, including blooming tarplant. Bring a dish or drinks to share, picnic plates, cups, flatware, etc., and a blanket or beach chair to sit on. We will provide tables for the food buffet and binoculars for bird watching. Tarplant Hill is across the street from Landmark School, 235 Ohlone Parkway, in Watsonville; park in the Landmark Elementary parking lot. Please RSVP to Kathy Fieberling at email@example.com or 831-345-1226. Map.
Summer is Flying By —
We have just a few more tours this year. Don't miss out — RSVP today. Bring your friends and join us on a family-oriented tour of the wetlands and our Wetlands Educational Resource Center (map/directions).The upcoming Wetlands Alive! Tour dates are Sunday, Aug. 7; Saturday, August 20; and Saturday, Sept. 10;starting at 10 a.m. Tours are free, but please call 831-345-1226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday noon before the tour to reserve a place. For more information, click here.
Bald Eagles Spotted at Watsonville Sloughs!
© Don Getty, www.DonGettyWildlifePhotography.com
Wetlands Watch staff and several birders have sighted two bald eagles in the sloughs. On June 26, birder Phil Brown and daughter Veryan reported seeing a mature bald eagle catch a fish in the Watsonville sloughs. A sub-adult eagle has also been spotted by WWW staff at Hanson Slough. The presence of top predators like eagles suggests that the food supply in the sloughs is ample. Bald eagles are not the only unusual bird sightings in the wetlands; locally rare ground-nesting California horned larks have been found in various stages of nest building and caring for their young. The presence of these birds demonstrates the success of protection and habitat restoration efforts by the Watch and our partners.
Presentation — The Green Big Day:
Self photo of Joseph DevereauxIn April and May 2011, birders from the US, UK, and Australia competed to see who could identify the most bird species in one day without jumping in a car. Some truly amazing stories came out of this “Green Big Day” event, as well as a renewed interest in “greenbirding” as a movement. On Tuesday, Sept. 13, biologist and avid birder Scott Smithson will share highlights of the event, some video footage of one of the “biking birders,” and his vision of the future of greenbirding. From 6:30 to 8:30 at the Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center; the talk is free but seats must be reserved. Please RSVP to Kathy Fieberling at email@example.com or 831-345-1226. Map. Learn more about the presentation. Read Scott's article about the Green Big Day.
Soaproot Plant Spectacular!
In July, late afternoon visitors to the Native Plant Garden at the Wetlands Resource Center were treated to a magnificent show of soaproot plants (Chlorogalum pomeridianum) flowering in the fading light. The flowers were open for business and the bumble bees were coming for that last bit of pollen and nectar before dark. One by one you could watch the plump, one-inch, white- and lavender-striped, lily-like blossoms pop open and unfurl. It was beautiful to behold! Read Jill's entire article.
You Can Help Protect & Restore
Nesting Habitat for the Horned Lark
The recently sighted ground-nesting California horned lark requires undisturbed habitat for nesting. You can play a part in protecting and restoring wetlands habitat with your donation. Contribute online by going to our website or by sending a donation in the mail to WWW, P.O. Box 1239, Freedom, CA 95019. Contributions are tax-deductible in accordance with IRS rules for non-profit organizations and are greatly appreciated.
Watsonville Wetlands Watch advocates for wetland issues, educates elementary, middle, and high school students, restores degraded habitats, preserves what remains whole, and teaches appreciation for the unique beauty and life of the Pajaro Valley wetlands. In cooperation with numerous other agencies, we support studies of and planning for these sites.