Scenes from a seasonal marsh. Low areas collect water and form ponds during winter and spring, then it dries out over the summer. All the ground in these photos except on the near side of the logs in the last picture usually spends part of the year underwater.
The lowest part of the preseve is also where the most trees are (presumably because water has more time to soak into the ground there).
I think it's been about a year since a small fire burned in this corner of the marsh preserve. It's less obvious on the ground where new grass has grown, but it's clear to see on this tree where the fire burned and where it stopped.
We’ve had a wet winter, so the seasonal marsh has actually filled up a lot more than it has for the last few years. In addition to the full ponds (including two on either side of a road that was still muddy) I saw a lot of birds, including a crane that was swaying back and forth until it took flight, lots of ducks and geese.
I went back to the same marsh I’d visited in early December, after a few more rainstorms. The ponds had spread, covering trails I’d walked along just a few weeks earlier. Ducks and geese had arrived in force.
I could also swear I heard a frog, but I couldn’t see it, and even with the weird southern California seasons, I don’t think it’s the right time for frogs to be out. I should’ve asked at the visitor center.
Ducks feeding in a marsh pond. The last time I was here, the entire marsh had dried out for summer. After a couple of fall rainstorms (which, if they’d come sooner, night have at least cut down on the massive wildfires last month), parts of the marsh have flooded again for winter.
I was halfway there before I realized I hadn’t brought the film camera, but I at least had the Canon, which has a more powerful zoom anyway.
Finally got around to curating my photos from an August hike at Madrona Marsh in Torrance, California. This was the first time I’d ever been to the marsh that there was *no standing water left*. Usually the lowest part of the preserve still has some ponds even into fall, but this summer, it had all dried up.
It finally occurred to me to put together a side-by-side image of the one spot I managed to take photos of on both hikes!
On the right: May in Madrona Marsh, after winter and spring rains filled up the low-lying areas of the preserve.
On the left: Late August in the same spot, after summer had dried up the pools. Despite the drought, and helped along by a couple of freak summer storms, the ground is still holding onto enough moisture that the floor of the vernal pool is covered with low greenery instead of dry grass.
I know, it’s always better to put “before” on the left, and I tried it with that layout, but it ended up looking better this way.
I thought this shot of a vernal pool at Madrona Marsh would be a good fit for the “Catchy Colors: Emerald” theme. This is the same marsh I visited a couple of weeks ago, but back in spring, before most of the wetlands had dried out for the summer.
Photo taken at: Madrona Marsh Preserve and Nature Center
The last of the seasonal wetlands at Madrona Marsh, a nature preserve surrounded by suburban Torrance, California. These pools spread over the grounds each winter and spring with storm water, and dry out each summer.
And it really is surrounded by the city. Housing tracts on two sides, retail on the third, and a Target on the fourth, just a few dozen yards to the right of this spot.