In the video below, biologist John Martin surveys a plateau on a mountainside at the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge on a recent spring morning. The landscape is covered with coastal sage scrub, once the dominant habitat in the Southern California region.
This green ribbon of natural habitat that wraps around Mount San Miguel is a sharp contrast to the urban environment that surrounds the refuge’s 11,000 acres of protected lands.
Martin could see downtown San Diego from this hard-to-reach vantage spot, but that is not what he was there to look at.
“This open area that I’m sitting in is high-quality habitat for Quino checkerspot butterfly,” Martin said.
The endangered Quino checkerspots are flying on the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge this spring for the first time in years.