Ladybugs, plants, and birds oh my!

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You know what makes me happy?  Little kids getting excited about nature.  We had a girl scout troop of young girls help out at our habitat restoration work day last Saturday.  Together with the younger Jr. Stewards they were having a blast because there were lots and lots of ladybugs.  Everyone loves ladybugs with their bright red backs covered with small black dots.  These beetles are part of the family Coccinellidae, and their bright colors warn predators that they taste awful.  Most people like the ladybug in their gardens because ladybugs eat plant-eating insects like aphids.

Another thing that makes me happy is seeing the native grasses swaying in the breeze.  We have many purple needle grasses and other native bunch grasses surviving and producing seeds.  I hope that these seeds eventually germinate and increase the population of the native grasses.  It is going to be a long process because the grasses grow slowly without a lot of water, but if we are able to lower the competition of the non-native plants by weeding, I’m hopeful the grasses will eventually self-propagate.

Speaking of weeding, one of our Stewards pulled out a massive wild radish.  Wild radish is a non-native we are keeping an eye on to prevent from becoming prolific in our habitat restoration area.  So far so good.  Also, the penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis) we planted last year is starting to bloom.  We planted this around the coastal sagebrush and it is doing well.

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To top off the work day as I walked back to my car, I found this Black-necked Stilt feeding right on the water’s edge.  Of course I had to stop and snap a picture.  The main reason why it is so important to restore habitat is for the birds and other animals that call Bolsa Chica home.

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~Erin

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