Terns, gulls, pelicans, herons, egrets, hawks, ospreys, grebes, sandpipers and many other types of birds are on glorious display these days at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.
Also prevalent are hikers, dog walkers, joggers, bikers and, most of all, birders and bird photographers: big-time photographers with tripods and bazooka lenses, budding wannabes, casual shooters and folks with pocket cameras who most times are unable to get close enough to their subjects to fill a frame.
I fall into the casual-shooter category and cite the accompanying images as evidence. They were captured over the weekend during a 90-minute lap around the sprawling wetlands across the highway from Huntington State Beach in Orange County. A sampling from my field notes:
-- Snowy egrets abound. They're one of the easiest large birds to photograph, far more active and less shy than the much larger great egret, which is an ambush hunter that stands perfectly still, its long neck outstretched, and strikes snakelike at passing prey.
-- A particular snowy egret is shuffling through a shallow mudflat with webbed feet, trying to stir up a morsel. These downy-white birds with long black legs and yellow feet will do this for hours with little or no success, but I've arrived just as the bird plucks a shrimp or some other small critter (see above photo). Time to move on.