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 linger and shoot…..
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..
Foster tern is probably the most common bird here…
squabbling on the bridge
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..
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..
a flight of Ibises overhead
this colourful Eared Grebe appeared just next to the wooden bridge
it cruised about and..
a regal Western Grebe
with characteristic dark back of the neck
double crested cormorant
the endearing but bizzarely named Killdeer
The beautifully coloured Ruddy Turnstone
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..
And then plunge head first into the water for a second or two…
before reemerging on the surface…
and then breaking free of the water…
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…