HUNTINGTON BEACH, California  - A dolphin who took a wrong turn from the Pacific Ocean into Southern California wetlands became an unwitting star on Friday when scores of motorists on a nearby busy highway stopped to watch it swim in circles.

The 700-pound (317-kg) mammal was discovered on Friday morning in Bolsa Bay, about 30 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles in the Orange County community of Huntington Beach.

It was swimming in a patch of wetlands near a concrete flood-control gate close to the beach, said Kelly O’Reilly, reserve manager for the California Department of Fish and Game. She said authorities think the dolphin could find its own way back when the tide comes in, although it will have to swim more than 3 miles to get to open water.

That is because the path the dolphin took to get into the wetlands is not a direct route to the ocean. It skirts the edge of the coast, passing through a marina where boats are docked outside multi-million dollar homes.