08 de septiembre de 2023

Little Blue Heron Visits Bolsa Chica

Here’s a fun challenge for the Fall, see if you can spot a Little Blue Heron at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.

Normally the Little Blue Heron’s main range is central and upper south America up into Mexico as far as the California border, concentrated along the coasts, and in the southeastern U.S. However, during the Winter of 2021/22 passionate bird enthusiast and BCLT contributing photographer, Carl Jackson, spotted a juvenile Little Blue Heron at Bolsa Chica! You can see his beautiful photo on the September page of our 2023 Wings Over Bolsa calendar.
As juveniles the Little Blue Heron isn’t blue at all but a brilliant white and because of that they blend in well with Snowy Egrets. Look carefully for their slate gray/blue beak with a black tip and greenish legs to tell them apart from the Snowys.
As they become adults Little Blue Herons lose their white feathers and become a blueish gray with a subtly purple-tinted neck and head and can be mistaken for the Reddish Egret. However, they retain that gray beak with a black tip, have lighter gray legs and are smaller than the Reddish Egret.
Little Blue Herons prefer freshwater wetlands, streams, ponds, flooded fields and, in the Southeastern US, are often seen with Cattle Egrets. Very quiet and shy, they hunt by standing still or moving very slowly and will eat fish, crabs and insects. Little Blue Herons gather in small numbers except when nesting.

Although it is rare to see Little Blue Herons at Bolsa Chica the current change in climate patterns means that we may expect to see them here more frequently.

Do you think that you may have seen a Little Blue Heron at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve? Please tell us about it in the comments!

Publicado el septiembre 8, 2023 09:22 TARDE por bolsasteward bolsasteward | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

08 de agosto de 2023

The Diversity of Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

Welcome to Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve!
Today is a beautiful day to wander the trails and explore at least 5 different habitats, don’t you think?
And look, you don’t even have to drive way out into the mountains or desert in order to take some deep breaths in nature. Because Bolsa Chica is right here in the midst of a bustling beach town tucked among houses, eateries and coffee shops just a few minutes from downtown Huntington Beach.
Here at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve you can immerse yourself in rich, vibrant wetlands filled with birds, marine creatures, mammals, reptiles, and fragrant native plants and still have time to go shopping.

But wait, what were those “5 different habitats” mentioned above?
BCER is very unique in that it is the only intact wetland AND upland habitat ecosystem between Morro Bay and the Tijuana Estuary. Here you can find full tidal wetlands, muted tidal wetlands, mudflats, sand dunes, coastal sage scrub, grassland and riparian habitats. Each habitat provides different resources for a wide variety of native species including 23 listed and endangered species.

Accessing the Reserve from the south parking lot off of PCH you’ll be greeted by a long wooden walk bridge that takes you over the waters of the Bolsa Chica Basin State Marine Conservation Area. Looking down into the water you may see Haller’s Round Rays, Moon Jellies, octopus and a wide array of fishes. From there you’ll walk along raised trails among full tidal wetlands where mullet fish are jumping and herons and egrets are hunting. You will also see areas that are mudflats during low tide hosting many shore birds. This area also tends to be our most popular viewing area for bird lovers from around the world. Depending on what time of year you visit the variety of birds will change. If you walk all the way out to the tide gates turn left and head west (towards the ocean) you’ll find the sand dunes or Coastal Strand habitat between Inner Bolsa Bay and PCH. This trail will take you back to the south parking lot.
Turning to the right (towards the mountains) you can access the mesa trail if you want a longer hike.

For a change of pace, park in the north lot located near the corner of PCH and Warner Ave, across the street from the fire station. From here you’ll walk right into the heart of the mesa habitats which are mainly coastal sage scrub and grassland areas. Turnouts give you the opportunity to look out over the waters of the Bolsa Bay State Marine Conservation Area where you might spot a Green Sea Turtle, Sea Lion or perhaps even a dolphin. Along the trail you are likely to see squirrels, rabbits, lizards and occasionally a snake. Overhead raptors such as Red-tailed Hawk, Turkey Vultures and Osprey are scanning for their next meal.

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is a landscape in the midst of healing from 200 years of abuse and degradation, but it is healing. During the 27 years that the Bolsa Chica Land Trust has been working on habitat restoration we’ve seen multiple endangered species come back to call this place home again. Creatures like the Belding’s Savannah Sparrow, San Diegan Legless Lizard and plants like Papoose Tarweed. All of these and more can be seen in our iNaturalist observation files. We hope you join us in enjoying this beautiful wild landscape right here in the heart of a bustling city by the sea.

For information on tours or volunteering for groups and individuals visit our website at
bclandtrust.org or call us at 714-846-1001

Publicado el agosto 8, 2023 05:21 TARDE por bolsasteward bolsasteward | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario