Last Saturday D. and I escaped the torrid local temperatures by heading to the coast and spending the afternoon and early evening at Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve. Adjacent to Pescadero State Beach, it is the largest marsh between Monterey Bay and San Francisco. The confluence of Pescadero Creek and Butano Creek forms a lagoon and estuary that is a haven for birds. (Indeed, we saw white-tailed kites, a great egret, northern harriers, a belted kingfisher, barn swallows, white-crowned sparrows, a turkey vulture and some red-breasted mergansers.) Starting about 80 years ago, farmers built levees that, while managing seasonal flooding, disrupted the natural hydrology of the area and increased sedimentation in the creeks. Since then some levees have been breached and a lot of the natural habitat has been restored. We followed a trail that ran along Butano Creek, and I took the following pics.
Just past the head of the trail we see rusted farm machinery abandoned to the marsh.
Looking west toward the beach.
A yarrow (Achillea millefolium arenicola) blossom.
The tiny blossom of the California aster (Aster chilensis) has a hint of blue.
Looking east, up Butano Creek, into the marsh.
We cross the bridge.
A honeybee sips the florets of a beach buckwheat (Eriogonum latifolium) blossom.
Looking downstream Butano Creek to the Highway 1 overpass.
Sun shimmers on the water.
A bumblebee and some beetles enjoy a yellow bush lupine (Lupinus arboreus) blossom.
Sun glints on Butano Creek as the afternoon glides by.
Looking south across the marsh.
You can hardly tell there's a trail here. But there is. More or less.
A sign that autumn is not far off.
An abandoned shack at the far end of the marsh is open to the elements.
A family of mergansers swims down Butano Creek.
Late afternoon sun glimmers on the creek.
A little sailboat plies a sparkly ocean of light just off Pescadero State Beach.
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D. took the following pics.
Rusted farm machinery disintegrates in the sun.
Some flowerheads have gone to seed and dried up already.
Wild radish blossom, a ubiquitous weed.
A white-shouldered kite hovers in search of prey, one of several active in the marsh.
Thistles are aglow.
A female northern harrier diligently patrols the marsh.
The native blackberry foliage is starting to turn color.
The merganser family aswim on the creek.
Long shadows tell us that late afternoon is slipping by. Time to turn and head for home.