Sunday, May 2, 2010

Spring in Craig Regional Park

The lake at Craig Park


Craig Regional Park is a beautiful park with rolling grassy lawns, lots of trees, two year-round creeks, and a small lake or pond.   In addition, there is a small nature center, a rose garden, barbecues, picnic tables, baseball fields, basketball courts, bike trails, and lots of sidewalks to take long, peaceful strolls.  It is a nice place to walk and listen to the birds.   A great place to bird.  The park is 124 acres and is located in both Fullerton and Brea near the Fullerton Dam.



A closer look at a narrower portion of the lake.

Craig Regional Park is named in honor of Ted Craig who was an active city council member, mayor of Brea, member of the state legislature, and regent of the University of California.  He was active in the 1920s and 1930s.  He spent his life in active public service to Orange County.


Nest box for the many Wood Ducks who live and nest here.

The park has many resident Wood Ducks who are cavity nesters, and there are many nesting boxes for them to use. (Update June 2015: Most if not all of the Wood Ducks who used to frequent Craig Park have moved on, and all but one of the nesting boxes have been removed.  You will find Wood Ducks in the eastern end of Orange County now.  Irvine Regional Park, Oak Canyon Nature Center, etc.).

A bluebird nestbox for the Western Bluebird who breeds in Orange County as well as other parts of California.

Also present in the park are Western BluebirdsWestern Bluebirds are also cavity nesters, and there are many bluebird boxes for them in the trees throughout the park.



Female Wood Duck and her 9 ducklings. 

The park's lake is stocked with fish and allows fishing with a permit.  Of course, this also attracts the usual fish-eating crowd of Black-crowned Night Herons, Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets, and Great Blue Herons.  In addition, there are usually a few Double-crested Cormorants fishing in the lake.  They need no permit.



Black-crowned Night Heron looking for a good fishing spot.  This was at almost 11AM. 


There are Mallards, Pied-billed Grebes, and the usual assortment of domestic ducks, and a few escaped Egyptian Geese.


Female Western Bluebird feeding her nestlings.

As I walked through the park, I saw a Western Bluebird couple attending to their babies.


The male Western Bluebird keeping watch.  He flew off with the female when she emerged from the nestbox.


One of the streams meandering through the grass at Craig Regional Park.

The streams are used by the ducks, egrets, and herons as well.


California Towhee among the flowers.


Female and male Wood Ducks pause on the sidewalk before flying up to the chain link fence.

Since Wood Ducks are perching ducks, you can see them in places you would never find a Mallard.



Wood Duck drake finally swam close enough for a decent shot and in decent light, too!

This Wood Duck took quite a while to groom himself before returning to the water.

I enjoyed walking around the lake.


Snowy Egret striding purposefully to the water.



Female Mallard and the petite Snowy Egret.


Across the lake another Snowy Egret.  Notice that a Snowy Egret is not very big compared to a female Mallard.  Non-birders often mistake mature Snowy Egrets for baby egrets when the Snowy is standing next to a Great Egret which is also white. 


This American Robin tilted his head often to the side, listening for yummy bugs in the grass.




A female Mallard with two of her three ducklings.

It was a peaceful relaxing morning of walking and birding.  So if you are thinking about a place to bird in Northern Orange County, try Craig Regional Park.  It is a great place to go birding in Orange County.



External Links and Resources

Craig Regional Park











2 comments:

Robyn Summers said...

Absolutely loved your post

Robyn Summers said...

Absolutely loved your post! So rare so beautiful thanks for sharing.