The first, a yellow rose, grows in my cactus garden. I cannot get rid of it. I have tried cutting it down, chopping it down, drowning it, withholding water, digging it out. It keeps coming back. It is a weed because it grows where I don’t want it to grow.
The second picture shows weeds that are not weeds because they grow where people want them to grow. Who are these people?
Oh, I’m so confused….
Weeds…. Not weeds…. Weeds…. Not weeds….
The weeds that are not weeds surround a runway at the San Diego International Airport.
Great picture for those looking out the window while their plane is landing
“Wow, honey, look at all the weeds.
Why doesn’t someone mow them down or something?”
Well, the weeds that are not weeds are a nesting site for a rare colony of California Least Terns.
In 1973, there were only about 300 nesting pairs of California Least Terns in all of California. Today, thanks to projects like this one run by the San Diego Zoo and the County Regional Airport Authority, there are over 6,000 nesting pairs in California, still not enough to ensure their survival because there are only thirty colony nesting sites in the State.
Birds lay their eggs directly on the sand/gravel surface. The warmth of the sun and sand apparently helps the birds develop within the egg. Areas like this near the airport are critical because the birds don’t have to compete with beach-goers, the planes chase away most predatory raptors, and the airport fence keeps out dogs, foxes, and other four-legged hunters.
Look at the second picture and you can see a little fence in the bottom foreground. That fence is a whopping ten inches high and defines the actual nesting site within the airport fence. During nesting season you can see eggs laying on the surface, and parents closely guarding them.
Their wintering location remains unknown, which I thought was interesting, but biologists suspect that they winter along the Pacific Coast in South America.
I intend on going back to this site during breeding season (April to mid-June) to see if I can get some pictures of parents and eggs, maybe even some little chicks.
For more about the California Least Tern, see the Wikipedia page.
Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
CA BRE #01458572
If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!