November 18th, 2007

Egrets Reading

Bolsa Chica

Black-crowned Night Herons, Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

"Bolsa Chica" means "little pocket" in Spanish and the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is just that - a little pocket of wildlife in the middle of Huntington Beach. You can drive right past it on Pacific Coast Highway, glancing at what appears to be empty wetlands, without even knowing its there.

From where I shot this photo, I'd only need to turn my head about 90 degrees to see the normal beach traffic on PCH. I spent the morning traipsing around the ecological reserve with some birders from the Sea and Sage Audobon Society and saw unbelievable amounts of pelicans (both brown & American white), snowy egrets, great egrets, great blue herons, black-crowned night herons, and I even saw two reddish egrets! We also saw cormorants, red-crested mercansers, Northern pintails, eared grebes, Western grebes, Clark's grebes, horned grebes, scaups, surf scoters,buffleheads, coots, greater yellow legs, ruddy ducks, Northern shovelers, green-winged teals, a cinnamon teal, a blue-winged teal, red head ducks, gadwalls, Western gulls, ring-billed gulls, a Heerman's gull, a Bonaparte's gull, Forster's terns, Caspian terns, American avocets, ruddy turnstones, Western sandpipers, willets, plovers, marbled godwits, long-billed curlews, dowitchers, a kingfisher, and that's just for starters. There were raptors - about 5 osprey, a couple of red-tail hawks, an American kestrel, a sharp-shinned hawk, and the list goes on and on. (I didn't even mention the songbirds and the Northern Flicker).

Supposedly nearly half of the birds found in the United States have been sighted here.

Needless to say, if you have the slightest interest in birds or if you need some poetic inspiration, you should really pull off PCH if you're ever in the neighborhood.

night herons
in the stillness of morning --
Sunday prayers

photo and haiku (c)2007 Deborah P Kolodji