San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Not too long ago I found a national wildlife refuge that previously I did not know about. It’s the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge:

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge map

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It is not in any of my San Diego books about hiking, biking, walking, running, or national thises and thats. Time to turn to………………….

Russel Ray, Private Investigator.

The San Diego National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1996. Ah-ha! That explains my lack of knowledge about it. I arrived in San Diego in April 1993 and, in March 1994, decided to stay here. At that time I bought a bunch of books about San Diego County, all published well before 1996. Hmmm. Maybe it’s time to get some more recent books.

According to some articles I found on the Internet, “The San Diego Refuge will protect, enhance, and restore habitats for threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, and rare plants and animals found in a variety of habitats. It will help conserve the biological diversity of San Diego County and provide important habitat for a significant number of endangered birds. It has been designated a Globally Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy.”

Although it was originally established with 8,471 acres, it now comprises over 9,200 acres.

There ya go! My work is done.

Oh, wait!

I guess you want some pictures, huh? You folks are demanding.

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

According to a plaque I found, many of the trails throughout the area where I walked were created by Samuel Marks as his Eagle Scout service project in August 2006. The plaque you see by the fence in the rear center of the picture above indicates that the area behind the fence is filled with San Diego Ambrosia (Ambrosia pumila), a small, endangered plant only a few inches tall that grows in dry, sunny spots in southeast San Diego County.

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I walked around the trails for three hours but obviously did not even come close to traipsing all 9,200 acres. Somewhere in all that acreage are 30 acres of vernal pools with San Diego fairy shrimp, San Diego button celery, Otay Mesa mint, and California orcutt grass. Vernal pools are puddles of water that exist for a few hours to a few days after rains. In my home state of Texas, we actually called them “puddles of water” and stomped around in them to get all muddy and wet, to the chagrin of our parents. Who knew that tiny organisms were born, lived, and died in those puddles of water in just a few hours or days? Not to mention that I feel so bad now knowing that I might have been stomping the life out of some tiny creatures belonging to Mother and Father Nature.

This last picture is of a nasty, invasive plant called dodder. To see additional pictures and a discussion of dodder, see my blog post here.

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

30 thoughts on “San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

  1. 1girl4adamwest

    Hey there friend! I read a comment you recently wrote and you mentioned there is a way to block certain people from your wordpress blog…how do you do it? I have a little girl following me for the past day and I do NOT like that. If you are 18 or older cool but, anyone younger, I’m not comfortable with (where are these kids parents???). Can you please let me know…sorry asking you this on your blog, not sure how to send you a regular email.

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  2. elfkat

    Okay, putting on my naturalist hat here to say that dodder is not necessarily bad. Doddet only appears in years where there has been sufficient rain to cause chapparal to over grow. Dodder’s part is to prevent or curb the growth so it doesn’t overwhelm the ecosystem or make too much fuel for fire. It’s a control species and when fire was allowed to be part of chapparal’s natural cycle preforms a valuable function.

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  3. Corinne Shields

    Hi Russel

    Thanks for the info and the beautiful photographs. You had a lovely day for your walk on the wildside. Check my blog at soulsnet because great minds are obviously thinking alike. My last post is all about walking on the wildside!!!!

    If I ever visit San Diego I shall make sure and visit. You are a great tour guide.

    Love Corinne

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  4. Heather Dewar

    Gorgeous photos! I’d love to get a copy of one of them to do a post on the National Wildlife Refuge System’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/USFWSRefuges
    about this blog entry. (I know, I know, most people would just rip and run with it, but we’re sticklers for permissions and credits.) We don’t have many good photos from this refuge. I like the ladybug and the photo of the winding trail that comes right after it. If you are willing to part with one of those, please email it to me at heather_dewar@fws.gov.
    Thanks! We’re glad you discovered San Diego National Wildlife Refuge and shared it with your followers. Be sure to check out San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge too. It’s on the coast and has marvels all its own.

    Heather Dewar
    National Wildlife Refuge System

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