Bolsa Chica Salt Marshes (I) : Water Birds

When:  April 2015                                  Weather:   Cool, 18-20C Sony A55 70-400G.  Leica M240/ 35 summilux After some excellent birding in the Tijuana Estuary south of San Diego, a friend of mine told me of the Bolsa Chica salt marsh Wetlands in Orange County where he lived.As we had a day to kill, I managed to make two visits there, one on the evening and again at daybreak the next day….although the terrain is uninspiring being largely flat, there are a number of water bodies which made for excellent birding…I was dropped at the car park on the highway and spent a few hours wandering along the trails that led back to the visitor centre on Warner Avenue; easily done in 3 hours, longer if you longer and shoot…..

The entrance to Bolsa Chica Wetlands from the carpark on Western Pacific Highway leading to the wooden bridge

The entrance to Bolsa Chica Wetlands from the carpark on Western Pacific Highway leading to the wooden bridge

The colours were constantly changing as the sun came up..

The colours were constantly changing as the sun came up..

The Californian Least Tern is probably the most common bird here...

 Foster tern  is probably the most common bird here…

squabbling on the bridge

squabbling on the bridge

sashimi breakfast

sashimi breakfast

There was incessant activity in the air with the terns shrieking noisily as they winged across the water

There was incessant activity in the air with the terns shrieking noisily as they winged across the water

And then this majestic group of Black Skimmers flew overhead..

And then this majestic group of Black Skimmers flew overhead..

before heading down to the water and dipping their lwer beaks into the water whilst they flew, trying to pick up fish...

before heading down to the water and dipping their lower beaks into the water whilst they flew, trying to pick up fish…

from afar, the Black Skimmer with a red beak..

from afar, the Black Skimmer with a red beak..

a flight of Ibises overhead

a flight of Ibises overhead

this colourful diving duck appeared

this colourful Eared Grebeb appeared just next to the wooden bridge

Can anyone help me ID this beauty?

it  cruised about and..

And dived frequently

 dived frequently

a regal Western Grebe

a regal Western Grebe

with characteristic dark back of the neck

with characteristic dark back of the neck

double crested cormorant

double crested cormorant

lesser scaup

lesser scaup

Surf Scoter

Surf Scoter

male mallard

male mallard

female mallard

female mallard

SONY DSC

Marbled Godwit

Marbled Godwit

SONY DSC

Willett

Willett

the endearing but bizzarely named Killdeer

the endearing but bizzarely named Killdeer

The beautifully coloured Ruddy Turnstone

The beautifully coloured Ruddy Turnstone

Reddish Egret

Reddish Egret

snowy egret

snowy egret

Great Blue heron

Great Blue heron

The terns exhibited fascinating fishing technique....they would fly around and then hover, just like a pied kingfisher scanning the water for a fish..

The terns exhibited fascinating fishing technique….they would fly around and then hover, just like a pied kingfisher scanning the water for a fish..

And then plunge head first into the water for a second or two...

And then plunge head first into the water for a second or two…

before reemerging on the surface...

before reemerging on the surface…

and then breaking free of the water...

and then breaking free of the water…

and flying off...only to repeat the whole process again

and flying off…only to repeat the whole process again

So as far as the shorebirds were concerned, there was an incredible variety at Bolsa Chica. Easily accessible, under an hour from LAX  and highly recommended for all birders…

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