We are going virtual to celebrate Endangered Species Day (ESD) on May 15th. This is one of our favorite annual events at the BVAS Nature Center. Since we cannot gather together, please join us in a month-long virtual exploration to learn about some of the endangered and threatened species that live in and around Buena Vista Lagoon and San Diego County. We plan on posting articles and activities every few days, so stay tuned!

Least Bell's Vireo

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The Western Monarch Butterfly

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The California Least Tern

Least Terns, and so many other coastal and pelagic species, rely on small forage fish such as anchovy for their survival.

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Native Bees

Native Bees (pictured: Bombus sonorous)

Seen any bees lately? Think they are all European honey bees? Actually, San Diego County hosts over 500 species of native bees according to bee researcher, James Hung. Now doing postdoctoral research on pollination at the University of Toronto, he previously studied native bees of San Diego County while at UCSD. Many of these bees, including the bumble bee in the above photo, are endangered due to the destruction of native habitat and lack of native vegetation, as well as the use of bee-killing pesticides.

Just like the honey bee, native bees are important pollinators for both native plants and agricultural crops in San Diego County. A preserve in Fallbrook has received funds from the Federal government to increase native bee habitats for both ground-nesting bees like sweat bees and tunnel-nesting bees like carpenter and mason bees to increase pollinators in the area. Unlike the familiar honey bee, these species don’t make honey or live in large hives but instead are solitary.

To encourage ground-nesting varieties in your yard, dedicate an area, like a rock garden or low native shrub zone that is well drained and in a sunny location. Do not till or dig in this area or cover the soil with mulch. Then start watching for small holes that indicate ground dwelling insects have nested. You can also make or purchase bee houses for tunnel nesting species, typically made of small paper tubes or hollow plant stems. And you can purchase mason bees to inhabit your house, instead of waiting for them to find it.

Resources on native bees:
https://sdnativebees.tumblr.com
https://agrowingpassion.com/native-bees-as-pollinators/

Light-footed Ridgway's Rail (formerly Clapper Rail)

This beautiful wader resides at Buena Vista Lagoon and can be heard more often than seen.

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Nevin’s Barberry - Berberis nevini

When we think of endangered species, we often focus on the big mammals – giant panda or mountain gorilla. But many plants are also in danger of disappearing in habitats throughout the world. A Southern California species that is becoming rare in its natural habitat is the evergreen flowering shrub, Nevin’s barberry. Watch this video, taken on the Buena Vista lagoon trail and learn about this endangered plant from BVAS Board Member, Joan Bockman.

A link to the video can also be found by clicking here.

California Brown Pelicans

The California Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus) is one of only two species to be removed from the Federal Endangered Species List (delisted).
The future of this iconic coastal bird is not certain. BVAS is one of many in the Audubon network that assists in surveying populations twice a year at five locations from the Batiquitos Lagoon to Camp Pendleton's Margarita River mouth.

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Southern California Legless Lizard - Anniella stebbinsi

Photo by Joan Bockman

Have you seen this slinky creature? No, it’s not a snake! This is a small slender lizard with no legs. Mostly brown, with a yellow belly, it has a shovel-shaped snout , eyelids, and smooth shiny scales. Found most commonly in coastal Southern California, it prefers cool moist locations and burrows in sandy soil or leaf litter. It eats a variety of insects, such as beetles and termites, and spiders. Like many lizards, it will detach its tail to distract potential predators which include snakes, birds, and weasels. Pictured is one found near the BVAS Nature Center by center manager, Annette Schneider.

Like so many species, much of its natural habitat has been lost to development, placing it in the “vulnerable” category because its numbers are currently decreasing. It prefers coastal dune areas and stream terraces and can be found hiding under rocks, logs or leaf debris. The area surrounding our lagoon is the ideal habitat for these interesting and unusual legless lizards. You can create lizard habitats in your yard by including natural areas with leaf litter to support insects and larvae for food and rocks, dried branches, and native shrubs to provide hiding spots.

Spot any reptiles in your yard recently?

See photos and read more about this interesting reptile at http://www.californiaherps.com/lizards/pages/a.stebbinsi.html

The Peregrine Falcon

We start by mentioning one of only two delisted and recovered species of animals on the Endangered Species List, the Peregrine Falcon. Peregrine Falcons do quite well in our urban areas where there is plentiful prey (mainly pigeons, doves, and smaller gulls).

Photo credits on individual photo description boxes.
Presentation: Jane Mygatt

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An Introduction to Endangered Species Days

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Your donation will help us further our mission of providing nature-based education to local children, offering birding classes and other programs, protecting and restoring North County wildlife habitats, and more!

Our Mission

Conservation Through Education, Advocacy, Land Management, and Monitoring

Mailing Address

Buena Vista Audubon
PO Box 480
Oceanside, CA 92049

Nature Center

2202 S. Coast Highway
Oceanside, CA 92054

760-439-BIRD
(760-439-2473)

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