By Jean Wheeler
Saturday, July 3
The volunteer work party known as the "Weed Warriors" will meet from 9:00 am to about noon. Anyone is welcome to join in to help pull obnoxious invading weeds and work on projects to reduce erosion. Wear comfortable sturdy shoes, long pants and sleeves, and park at the north end of 15th Street in Los Osos, avoiding driveways and mailboxes.
Third Saturday Walk—July 17, 9:30 a.m.
Sketch Walk: Join artist and naturalist Barbara Renshaw for a stroll along the Elfin Forest boardwalk. Take in views of the Morro Bay estuary, oak groves, expanses of coastal sage scrub and chaparral, and the volcanic Morros beyond. You'll stop in the Rose Bowker Oak Grove, made accessible for all with a recently built boardwalk extension, to enjoy the ancient gnarled coast live oak trees. Barbara will tell you a bit about the native plants that you see along the way. She will choose a few favorite sites for sketching. No drawing experience is necessary. Bring a pad of drawing paper, colored pencils or pastels, and some drinking water. Bring a camera too. You'll be pleased to discover the artist hidden inside of you.
Park at the north end of 15th Street (16th Street for wheelchairs) off Santa Ysabel in Los Osos. Walks begin on the boardwalk at the end of the 15th Street sand path. Wear comfortable shoes, long sleeves and pants to avoid poison oak and mosquitoes. Please park carefully, avoiding driveways and mailboxes.
Besides docent-led events, visit the Elfin Forest any day:
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 (please avoid blocking driveways or mailboxes) and take a sand path to the boardwalk or the wheel-chair accessible boardwalk entrance at 16th Street.
Coming Up in the Elfin Forest
Although winter's huge flotillas of ducks, geese, and shorebirds have flown to their northern nesting territories, close inspection reveals there are still a lot of water birds around. For many species of ducks and shorebirds, some individuals remain all year or even arrive to nest here after vacationing for the winter farther south. Among waders, Willets and Killdeer remain very common. Also resident all year are Great Blue and Black-crowned Night Herons, along with many Snowy and Greater Egrets. Most of our raptor species are here all year, and likely to be actively hunting with fledglings to feed in July. Many chaparral and oak woodland birds are also busy here all year—such as hummingbirds, flycatchers, wrens, warblers, sparrows, thrashers, finches, Scrub Jays, blackbirds, and quail.
We always have lots of wildflowers in bloom in the Elfin Forest, even with the arrival of hot, dry, summer weather. Black sage and chamise continue to brighten much of the landscape with pale lavender and white flowers, and the glow of yellow and gold is provided by poppies, deerweed, and sticky monkey flowers. Blues are especially rich in early summer, with silver dune lupines blooming into July. Wooly star provides low clumps of beautiful blue flowers, especially along the upper boardwalk near the 15th Street sand trail.
Adding color in the understory are yellow spikes of the succulent coastal Dudleya. Pink color is provided by spikes of California hedge nettle as well as cobwebby thistle (a native, unlike the alien and invasive purple Italian thistle). White flowers in the understory include pearly everlasting, the tiny white flowers of short grayish-green croton plants next to paths, and white flowers and ferny-looking leaves of horkelia in open areas. Enjoy the floral beauty of summer in our small wilderness area preserve.
Spotted Towhee image on banner by Jean Wheeler.