Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Walking Across the Bolsa Chica Bridge

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve still where I left it. The spring sounds of about a thousand terns of various sorts filled the air in a strangely soothing way. All photographs and text on this blog unless otherwise stated are copyright © Karen McQuade (the OC Birder Girl and author of this blog). All rights reserved.

Well, after almost two months of not being able to go on any walks due to double knee injuries and other assorted knee maladies, I was finally able to get out for a mini walk across most of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve footbridge. Just what the doctor ordered: A short walk on a flat surface. Packed my Mom, who also loves nature, in the car and headed to Bolsa Chica.

Willet in breeding plumage. The green, green pickleweed of Bolsa Chica in the spring.

The breeze was still blowing at the Bolsa Chica Wetlands. The Willets were still foraging in the green, spring pickleweed.

Belding's Savannah Sparrow perched on a mussel shell ready to shake off after a bath. Lots of snail and mussel shells sticking out of the wetland mud.

The Belding's Savannah Sparrows were still flitting here and there in the pickleweed. One took a nice bath in the shallows, and then perched on a mussel shell that was poking out of the mud. It shook the water out of its feathers and sat there in the sun for a moment. The weather couldn't have been nicer. Cool breeze and warm sun. California beach weather.

Great Egret fishing in the shallows.

There were Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets intent on a meal. I love the graceful way these slender white birds look wading out in the water.

Snowy Egret fishing in the middle of the water.

Morning is a great time at Bolsa Chica. I drank it in after having been away for so long. Thought I was getting bored with it, but it is a little bit of heaven. It is a favorite place where the cares of everyday life just drop away. I never will understand people who bring it with them here and yak on their cells or pipe in music that drowns out the natural beauty of where they are. It is hard to find friends who just want to be quiet out in nature. They are rare jewels.

Snowy Egret on his way somewhere as he passes over the footbridge. Notice his yellow feet.

There were lots of birds in flight, flying right over us on the bridge.

Snowy Egret and a Great Egret for comparison.

When you see a Great Egret and a Snowy together, the differences are obvious. The major difference is the size. The Snowy Egret is small and has a black bill. The Great Egret is much larger and has a yellow/orange bill--tipped in black in breeding season, but still yellow/orange.

This Great Egret was fishing by the footbridge.
There was a Great Egret (above) fishing while getting periodic bomb-diving from the terns who were very unhappy he was in one of their favorite places. This is not unusual. Many Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets get harassed by the terns who don't like competition. Sometimes on rare occasions, they fight back. Mostly they ignore them and keep on fishing.

A beautiful bird. The Great Egret is a graceful bird.

I watched him for a while as he crept through the water looking for fish. Even took a video of him catching a fish. See below.

Great Egret Catches a Fish from OC Birder Girl on Vimeo.

Forester's Tern fishing.
The tern--Forester's Terns, Least Terns, and Elegant Terns--are everywhere calling without ceasing. Flying high in the blue sky and low over the bridge just missing us, giving out with their raspy cries as the zip by.

Snowy Egret.

Black Skimmer skimming for fish.

I love watching the Black Skimmers skimming along the water by the shore. They are so big and fast that it is hard to see that their bills are open skimming the water.

Black-necked Stilts were flying from one area of pickleweed to another.

Seems like the Black-necked Stilts got smart and are building nest farther from the bridge. I love to watch them flying with their dark pink legs trailing out behind.

Willets still foraging as we head out.

It was a short, but sweet walk, and we headed back to the car both feeling more relaxed and peaceful.

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