Saturday, July 12, 2008

Watershed--What is it?

Upper Newport Bay aka Newport Back Bay

Orange County has a mosaic of 13 watersheds through which our water is absorbed into the earth or makes its way to the ocean. Some of the watersheds are very small--just a few miles in area--some over a hundred. The Santa Ana River Watershed starts in another county. Most of our nature centers and parks have ponds or streams that are fed by water from the watersheds. It prevents flooding and provides some filtering of water.

Short video on water and the watershed below.

Watershed 101 from Surf Rider Foundation

Upper Newport Bay

Below is a longer video on the watershed in an interview with a naturalist.

What is a watershed?

Below is a five-part series from Michigan on watersheds in general with a little bit on theirs in particular.

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

Into the Watershed Part 1

American Coots, Mallards, and American Wigeons quack it up in neighborhood run off.

Into the Watershed Part 2

Great Blue Heron at Huntington Central Park

Into the Watershed Part 3

Into the Watershed Part 4

CITC explains watersheds this way "It's the area of land that catches rain and snow and drains or seeps into a marsh, stream, river, lake or groundwater. " Water used to seep naturally into the ground and excess flowed away in streams and rivers to the ocean. Now our concrete and asphalt prevent the water from absorbing into the earth. What you leave on the street or throw out the window of a vehicle ends up in natural areas like parks and streams and wetlands.

Into the Watershed Part 5

So now you understand all about the watershed as the circulatory system of Orange County and the challenge of all our impervious surfaces. Our Wetlands are in the Seal Beach Wildlife Refuge, Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Talbert Marsh, San Joaquin Marsh and San Joaquin Wildlife Refuge, Huntington Central Park, and the estuary and wetlands of Upper Newport Bay to name a few. In addition to wetlands, many parks and nature centers are filters for neighborhood runoff in Orange County. These areas are important for containing and filtering water before it is released into the ocean. They help prevent flooding. They aren't just important for birders or nature lovers. They are places that preserve the quality of water for our planet and safety during floods. They also do provide places on the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds to rest or winter over. Nothing like the watershed. We birders should understand it and be able to talk with other Orange County residents about the watershed in Orange County.

Turtlerock Nature Center

The watershed is important to people, wildlife, and cities. Orange County has 13 watersheds. Click on these links to OC Watershed to find out about each watershed:

5) Santa Ana River Watershed

OC Birder Girl Links

Just a Few Parks and Wildlife Areas that use runoff from the neighborhood

Carr Park in Huntington Beach

Central Park in Huntington Beach

Environmental Nature Center

Mason Regional Park

Shipley Nature Center

Central Park after the Rain

Tewinkle Park -- Costa Mesa

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary

Irvine Open Space Preserve Nature Center

Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve aka Newport Bay

External Links and Resources

Irvine Ranch Water District

Lots of information including a clickable Map of Orange County Water Sheds.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

An Early Morning Walk at San Joaquin Wildlife Sancturay

Sunrise over a pond.

Got up early and went for a walk at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary . Didn't see the Bobcat, but did see some beautiful sights and some beautiful birds.

Baby American Avocet chick walking on its long legs. Very independent.

I love how the light makes everything look so dramatic.

Black-necked Stilts aplenty in the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary most days.

Love the way you can see Green Herons and Black-crowned Night Herons in the reeds. Love seeing a Great Blue Heron walking down the path.

Spotted Towhee.

This Spotted Towhee sang his heart out until some bikers pulled up on the road on the other side of the bushes to have a long conversation.

Lots of nesting material.

Swallows swooped and flew low over the water. Love the way they swoop past me as I walk down the path.

Wild Rose in the marsh.

Something so restful and refreshing about walking early out in nature. Seeing the sun rise over the building and the trees. Nothing like it.

The bunny brigade was out in force.

I love to see the rabbits bathed in the golden rays of the rising sun nibble their way around a pond.


Mommy and Baby American Avocet in the morning light.

Black-necked Stilt chick.

Two Swallows perched for a moment before flying off over the ponds to catch more flying insects.

American White Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants, American Avocet, and Black Skimmers .

You never know what you will find when you go out birding early in the morning, but it is always good. Just the air and the stillness make it good. Don't forget to get up early and go birding. Get out and go birding early in Orange County! The early birder spots the coolest birds.