Walking the San Joaquin Marsh, a Wildlife Sanctuary

Wildlife sanctuaries are spaces that serve to preserve the natural environment and maintain the biodiversity of specific areas. They serve as homes and refuges for all kind of animals and plants. Whenever I have the opportunity to explore them I do not hesitate to do it. During my last trip to Orange County, California, I visited the San Joaquin wildlife sanctuary, a protected area in the flood plain of the Sand Diego creek. It is located next to UC Irvine campus, covers almost 300 acres, and it is open to the public. The entrance is next to the intersection of Campus Dr. and Carlston Ave. and I had the pleasure of discovering while drifting through Orange County, an unusual place of car culture where very few people walk on the sidewalks. Although the reserve is surrounded by big roads, once you enter the sanctuary you will quickly feel that you are immersed in a wildlife habitat.

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The landscape of the San Joaquin marsh is rich in vegetation and water bodies. However, nowadays it looks very dry due to the drought that has affected California.

The multiple channels appear to be way below their normal levels and the vegetation looks quite opaque:

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The ponds, however, have maintained their levels and the vegetation at the shores remains quite alive.



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I spotted three Great blue herons standing at the shore, hiding on the vegetation and flying after I tried to approach to them:

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Although there were many other birds flying at the sanctuary, the most populous species were the American crows. I spotted hundreds of them, flocking, singing, and standing at the trees. Crowds of crows moving on the air in a coordinating dance of multitudes that created different shapes on the sky. Their singing, despite not being very melodic, was quite intense and a cry to the water color sky.

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