Liquid News

Summer Arrives at the Marsh

The butterflies have begun to make their appearance at the San Joaquin Marsh. If you have never visited this urban oasis, there is no time like summer to do so.

The butterflies can be seen throughout the Marsh, but are more plentiful in the butterfly garden, established in 2005.

Feel free to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at the abundance of picnic tables. But please do not feed the wildlife.

Visitors are encouraged to bring binoculars for bird watching. But there are other animals that might be seen, as well. Bobcats should not be confused with the more dangerous mountain lions. There is at least one litter of bobcat kittens born in the Marsh each spring, where there is plenty of food available to keep them happy.

The Marsh is a reconstructed wetland designed to clean urban runoff from the San Diego Creek before it reaches the environmentally sensitive Upper Newport Bay. Besides enhancing water quality, the Marsh provides a home to some 200 species of birds and other wildlife throughout the year in a park-like setting.

The Marsh contains more than 12 miles of meandering hiking trails on approximately 320 acres and is open 365 days a year, dawn to dusk. Best of all, a visit to the Marsh is free!

The Sea and Sage Audubon House is a great resource for Marsh visitors. You can sign up to participate in a variety of programs, or if you forgot your binoculars, you can check out a pair.

And don’t miss the pollinators’ garden. The 6,600-square-foot garden is located in the meadow area of the Marsh, behind the Duck Club and adjacent the butterfly garden. Many of the 22 species of plants will attract hummingbirds, but the real purpose of the garden is to draw bees, which are responsible for pollinating about one-third of the food consumed by humans.

All along the Marsh trails, you might notice the little birdhouses perched on metal poles next to the ponds. These were placed into the Marsh in the late 1990s to attract tree swallows. There are more than 100 of them dotted throughout the Marsh and they are monitored by volunteers from Sea and Sage Audubon. During the summers, hikers on the trails might be treated to the site of a mother swallow feeding her chicks as they poke their beaks out of the birdhouse opening.

The Marsh is located off Campus Drive on Riparian View in Irvine. Follow Riparian View to the Marsh driveway on the left. More information about the Marsh and a map to the site is available on our website.

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