On Saturday, January 29, the San Diego Audubon Society hosted a cleanup at the largest Mission Bay Least Tern nesting area.
We learned that Least Terns like to nest in dunes and that the chicks are sand colored. We learned that the Mission Bay soil, having been dredged from the bottom of the bay is far more rich in nutrients that typical sand dunes. This allows far more vegetation to flourish. The sand-colored Tern chicks do not blend in to all the vegetation.
We also learned that there are invasive plant species that need to be removed.
There were about seven invasive species. Each team targeted one or two species, to simplify identification (good and bad were sometimes hard to distinguish).
We also learned there are two endagered species of plants - we tried to keep them safe and "clean".
While it was the most complicated weeding I've done (I used to "if it's not a shrub, pull it out"), the setting was beautiful and the company delightful.
At noon, we had to pack things up. I think everyone would have been happy to do more. We weren't finished. The Least Terns are not expected to return here until mid-April. The Audubon Society will host many more cleanup sessions until they return.
San Diego Audubon Society hosts multiple environmental events every weekend: San Diego Audubon Event Calendar