​Bolsa Chica Wetlands, San Joaquin Wildlife Refuge and other Orange County Locales:


Copyright Karen Schuenemann, Wilderness At Heart Photography. ​All rights reserved. 

In a controversial land swap in 1973, California acquired 300 acres of wetlands right next to Pacific Coast Highway. In 2006 a milestone was reached when seawater flowed back into the restored wetlands for the first time in over 100 years!   Since I live  near the wetlands this has been a primary source of images.  I love to walk along the trails, observing the birds and wildlife that are abundant in the wetlands.  The smell of the salt air and hearing the beating of the hummingbird wings makes this a wonderful experience year round.  The salt marshes are the food sources for Egrets, Herons, Clapper Rails and Terns. Migratory Caspian and Elegant Terns nest alongside Black Skimmers, Black-necked Stilts and Avocets. Winter brings high concentrations of ducks and shorebirds.  White and Brown Pelicans can be seen diving for fish, and Northern Harriers and Peregrine Falcons are frequently spotted searching for prey.  The wetlands now consist of over 1200 acres of protected land and salt marshes!   Bolsa Chica continually amazes me and offers an incredibly diverse source of wildlife images.