Unless otherwise attributed,
all photos taken by Jean.
Elfin Forest Activities
By Jean Wheeler
When parking near the Elfin Forest while visiting, please avoid blocking driveways or mailboxes.
December 4 - Weed Warriors
The volunteer work party known as the "Weed Warriors" will meet from 9 am to about noon. Anyone is welcome to join in, help pull obnoxious invading weeds, and work on projects to reduce erosion. Wear comfortable shoes, long pants, and sleeves, and park at the north end of 15th Street in Los Osos.
December 18: 9:30 a.m. - Geology Walk
Geology Walk: Take a journey through time with Jeff Grover, Cuesta College Geology instructor. Jeff will focus on the geologic history of the Morro Bay area from the formation of the ancient morros, or Seven Sisters, to the recent development of the dunes that form the Elfin Forest. He may even give us a glimpse of what the Elfin Forest and Morro Bay will be like in the geologic future. Jeff brings rock samples and draws diagrams of local geologic action. Join us for a lively and informative walk and talk.
Besides docent-led events, visit the Elfin Forest any day to experience the quiet natural beauty of this small wilderness area. Park at the north end of any street from 11th through 17th streets off Santa Ysabel in Los Osos and take a sand path to the boardwalk or the wheel-chair accessible boardwalk entrance at 16th Street.
Coming Up in the Elfin Forest
The holidays are here! Not only for us but for the thousands of birds who have finished the frantically busy summer season of feeding not only themselves but a nest full of demanding offspring. They then made long and dangerous flights down from hundreds to thousands of miles north of here to reach our area of mild weather and sufficient food for the winter.
Morro Bay National Estuary is one the richest locales for birding in the United States and site of the 15th Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival scheduled for January 14-17 in 2011. As part of the watershed, the 40 acres of woodland we protect is part of the action, and Bush Lupine Point and Siena's View are two of the best places in the region for viewing the thousands of waterbirds and shorebirds flying over, swimming, or wading in the estuary.
With the foggy mists of August and September and the light but frequent drizzles and brief showers we've had in October and November, our shrubs and oak trees have greened up nicely. The early and frequent light watering should bring a burst of early winter blooms on our shrubs and sprouting of annuals from the large seed bank last year's abundant rains nurtured.
Bright red flower tubes of the Fuchsia-flowering Gooseberry will make a cheerful holiday statement. The leaves of this summer-deciduous shrub are already coming out bright green and I've seen tiny flower buds coming on them. I've also seen buds—a few even opening unusually early—on the Buckbrush Ceanothus, one of many species of the California Lilac genus. It is one of the dominants in the maritime chaparral, so its white to lavender flowers will soon nearly surround the boardwalk. The tiny pink bells of Morro Manzanita are also starting to open. This is a very narrow endemic shrub found only along the coast between Montana de Oro and Morro Bay State Parks, with the Elfin Forest preserve nearly centering its limited range. California toyon is also a shrub but grows only in protected areas sheltered by dunes along the lower boardwalk between Bush Lupine Point and Siena's View. It may still have red berries on it in December, which account for a common name of Christmas Berry.
Take a break from shopping and gift wrapping or relax after the happy holiday turmoil. Walk in the Elfin Forest that we protect through our generous donations and active volunteer efforts. Enjoy the burgeoning beauty of our marvelous little winter-blooming wonderland!
Brandt Geese on Bay
Spotted Towhee image on banner by Jean Wheeler.