Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Sponge Code & a coastal dune JEWEL

Gonna try to be brief; just finished a major project, so wanna DO STUFF!

A scientific approach to a visible Hierarchy of Filth

Inspired by wildlife/feral animal fieldwork techniques,
I FINALLY figured out how to readily distinguish among my 
otherwise-identical yellow sponges.

No clips = use for people dishes & food situations
1 clip = use for people non-food situations
2 clips = chicken action so could be Salmonella City

Notoriously, chickens get Salmonella, hence the Shunned Sponge.

FYI, the CDC has a Salmonella Atlas, in case you're interested...

ANYhow, I just found this amusing due to wildlife study origin. =)


I started my NPS career in a tiny, gorgeous coastal park,
Cabrillo NM, in San Diego, CA.

(way more css glamour shots in that post). 
*sigh* It's so dreamy...

And that park had teeny, tiny bits of sandy action w/some straggling native plants,
like beach evening primrose (Camissonia spp.) and/or

Park has a LOT of visitors and an informal trail system, so it's hard for those
pups to hang on. It's a rare & ever-diminshing plant community.

This weekend, however, we discovered Oso Flaco Lake State Park.
Holy healthy dune ecosystem!

It seriously feels like a MIRACLE that some
California dune habitat still exists that's this intact.

 Not-quite-in-focus cutie caterpillar on lupin.

There was bush lupin there that was TALLER THAN I AM! Wow.

A 1-mile hike to the ocean gets you here: view to the south.
NICE signage & great view of real coastal dunes w/native veg.

See little white sign on the right?
These areas are well protected due to presence of breeding
California least terns and western snowy plover.
Consequently, the whole ecosystem benefits. SO great.

View north:

Note that where people are allowed to walk, there is NO vegetation.

This is why I firmly believe that if you want to preserve native coastal dune habitat,
and other habitats on friable soils (incl. CSS on sandstone),
you've GOT to keep people off of it.

THAT way, while walking in designated areas,
you get to see something WAY more interesting & rare
vs. another sandy, bare trail.

Before we got to the beach...
Bear hiking across Oso Flaco Lake, lookin' at birds...

It's a GREAT place to view water birds. Saw lots of lovelies. Highly recommend.
Didn't have the proper lens for wildlife photos, but here's a ruddy duck pair
and I TOTALLY get why she's following him. Rawr! 

If I'm inspired later, I might fling a few more photos of the beachy part.

However, the dune action ROCKED my world
and made me feel SO GOOD,
literally just to know that something like this still exits.


Conservation biologists don't get a lot of happy news,
and I'm savoring this one. =)

If you're EVER in  northern Santa Barbara County
or southern San Luis Obispo County,
I HIGHLY recommend a visit.



  1. Wowser! Pretty pristine habitat. Lush! (like that's the right word for a coastal dune system)

    Not seen a Ruddy Duck in the wild for ages. Over here, they are threatening the White-headed duck population of Europe by er... 'loving' it out of existence (so I guess Mrs White-headed duck would agree with your 'Rawr!'). The conservation organisations were in a bit of a cleft stick really, and opted to cull the Ruddies. Tricky :o(


    1. Hm. Interesting. I do remember a conundrum the USFWS had in San Diego where peregrine falcons (federally listed at the time) were killing endangered California least tern nestlings. Fun stuff! A part of the solution was getting rid of telephone poles 'cause that created artificial perching habitat peregrines loved (from which to select the next tasty morsel).

  2. Absolutely stunning! And I love the caterpillar-on-lupine shot, even if it's not crystal-clear. What a cutie!

  3. Yeah--it was nice to see happy habitat, caterpillars & all. =) Very reassuring.


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