Sunday, June 02, 2013

A Day on Santa Cruz Island

Saturday, June 1 Friends of the Island Fox led an adventurous day trip to Santa Cruz Island and the endangered Channel Island fox made 56 new friends!

Island Journal - Santa Cruz Island

Would you believe the boat is still at the end of the dock?
The fog was thick as we arrived at Prisoner's Harbor on Santa Cruz Island, but it helped keep the day moderate in temperature. 

It was fascinating to see how much the native plants in the restored wetland had grown in a year. (Santa Cruz wetland in 2012) Gone were the green and yellow flags marking the newly planted vegetation. In their place were blooming Santa Cruz Island buckwheat, leggy willows and a melange of wetland plants. 

Looking across the planted wetland toward the dead snag
 Despite the low rainfall this year, two ponds were attracting a variety of insects and birds including the rare island scrub jay (Aphelocoma insularis). 

We had hardly stepped off the pier when we had our first view of the scrub jay flying overhead. Throughout the day we saw numerous individuals; some carrying food to nests on the hillsides.

Everyone was keeping an eye open for an island fox. In the early afternoon a male island fox came to investigate the lower area near the barn and picnic tables. He appeared several times, sniffing through the vegetation, marking his territory and eventually climbing up the hillside. 

Photo courtesy of Michael Lawshe
It was a great day. We were able to see both of Santa Cruz Island's unique creatures in one afternoon. A huge thank you to all of the people that came out with Friends of the Island Fox. Through their participation in this event, each person helped fund a microchip for an endangered island fox this coming fall.

Keri Dearborn - Education Director, FIF

Take a virtual trip to Santa Cruz through the photos of Douglas Welch and Michael Lawshe.

You can visit the island fox in its natural habitat too. Now that all populations of endangered island foxes are recovering, visitors to the Channel Islands have a good opportunity to see this rare species in the wild. You can see island foxes in the wild at Channel Islands National Park and Santa Catalina Island. What to remember when visiting the island fox.

Interested in Joining Us on a trip to the islands? Subscribe to our e-newsletter and be the first to know about upcoming trips.

Other Island Journals from Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz in Spring 2012
Student Returns to Santa Cruz