The Blanca Wetlands consist of hundreds of ponds and let me tell you, they ALL look alike at first. My first time at The Blanca Wetlands Portland gave me a map and told me to tell him the way… I got us super lost right away. It was extremely frustrating and stressful trying to figure out my way around The Blanca Wetlands so I came up with some funny ways to figure out my way around.
One of the first distinctive areas that stood out to me at The Blanca Wetlands was “The Red Road.” Western Snowy Plovers loved laying eggs on this road, but when people would drive on this road they would squish the eggs. The red rock was placed on this road specifically to help discourage the Western Snowy Plovers from laying eggs on it. This is the only road out at The Blanca Wetlands that has red rocks, so when we drive on it I know exactly where we are at.
I am not completely sure why, but everyone at the office calls this area “The Bone Yard.” There are no bones in this area, just extra materials, but none the less this is “The Bone Yard.” The Bone Yard is next to ponds 114 and 134. If you continue to travels west of the Bone Yard you will go to pond 133. This one marker helped me learn three different ponds.
Last year we had to drain a pond due to crazy amounts of bullfrogs found in it. We worked on this pond, pond 147, like crazy people. We drove out to it almost everyday and talked about it constantly, but I could never remember it as pond 147 so we nicknamed it “Bullfrog Pond.” In the picture below an American Bittern is walking in the slowly, but surly drying “Bullfrog” pond.
When reading a map of the Blanca Wetlands the roads can get confusing and most of the ponds are the same size and shape, but one pond really looks different to me. I named pond 157 “Elephant Pond” because it looks like an elephant. I find it so surprising that no one else in the office noticed that this pond looks like an elephant on the map sooner because it was the first thing I noticed.
I named pond 107 “Pelican Pond” because this is the pond that all the pelicans seem to love. Pelican pond is one of the only ponds on the wetlands that you will find large masses of pelicans.
Growing up in San Luis I was taught that Mt. Blanca was always to the north. At The Blanca Wetlands this is not the case. At the wetlands Port calls Mt. Blanca “Big East” because it is to the east of us and we use it to help us navigate around the ponds. Thinking of Mt. Blanca as east instead of north was really weird for me. Not realizing that Blanca is east in the wetlands has gotten me lost before, but I think I have finally figured it out.
These are all funny ways of thinking about how to get around The Blanca Wetlands, but the honestly made it so much easier for me to learn my way around. Now whenever we talk about the wetlands we always relate it back to one of my funny little distinctive markers.