DO great blue herons live in the San Gabriel Valley?
What about great egrets? Snowy egrets?
The answer is yes, yes and yes.
You don’t have to go to Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach as I did on my vacation to see these magnificent shore birds. The great blue hangs out at Puddingstone Lake and to my knowledge, still nests in the eucalyptus trees of Bonelli Park. The egrets still fish in Puddingstone, usually standing on a lonely spot, away from the cormorants and the humans.
Still, that’s me standing on the bridge overlooking the newly restored Bolsa Chica wetlands. It took more than 30 years of effort by environmentally-minded folk to keep Bolsa Chica from becoming Bolsa Chica Airport or Bolsa Chica Marina or Bolsa Chica Strip Mall. But they did it! Now that the ocean waters feed the estuary again, it is an amazing success story.
Fish swim under the gates as shorebirds wait in anticipation. Avocets and even clapper rails flitter about on the marsh lands like tiny dancers at the Met. The great egret — tiptoeing in the middle of the marsh — stretches her neck like a giraffe, while sinister stingrays shuffle along the brown, silty bottom.
Hip hip hooray for those who fought so long and hard to save these wetlands from development. And hip hooray to those who saved Bonelli Park in the early 1990s from commercialization. Because there too, miles from the shore, is our “wetlands” where great birds live or stopover and enrich our lives.
Keep the trend going by participating in the coastal cleanup day tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 15.