Outdoor sights in Orange County Beaches
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You'd be forgiven for overlooking Bolsa Chica, at least on first glance. Against a backdrop of nodding oil derricks, this flat expanse of wetlands doesn't exactly promise the unspoilt splendors of nature. However, more than 200 bird species aren't so aesthetically prejudiced, either making the wetlands their home throughout the year, or dropping by mid-migration.
Other than two circular embedded gun batteries (a legacy of WWII fears of Japanese invasion) this 'Little Pocket' of estuarine tidal saltwater marsh - home to loons, ducks, terns, sandpipers and rare species such as the white pelican - is largely untouched. This preservation hasn't come easily, however: decades…
Inland from the harbor, where run-off from the San Bernardino Mountains meets the sea, the brackish water of the Newport Bay Ecological Reserve supports more than 200 species of birds. This is one of the few estuaries in Southern California that has been preserved, and it's an important stopover on the Pacific Flyway. The Muth Interpretive Center, near Irvine Ave, has displays and information about the 752-acre reserve; call for hours.