This 1200 acres undeveloped wetlands area is a quick escape from urban sprawl where you can take a leisurely stroll, take a brisk hike, go jogging, bird watching and take lots of photos.
Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is a nature reserve in the city of Huntington Beach, California. It is designated by the California Department of Fish and Game to protect a coastal wetland, with its resident threatened and endangered species. "Bolsa Chica" means "little bag" in Spanish, as the area was part of a historic Mexican land grant named Rancho La Bolsa Chica.
You can start your exploration from either of 2 parking lots (south or north). If start from the south lot, you will cross a long wooden bridge that passes over the wetlands. You will be immediately rewarded with views of plant and animal life. Most prominent are the bird species.
As many as 321 species of birds have been spotted in the Bolsa Chica at various times. Some are year-round residents, others are migratory and are present for a short time.
You can also spot, rabbits, opossums, raccoons, squirrels, lizards, snakes and coyotes.
Fish species include top smelt, striped mullet, croaker, halibut, small sharks and round stingrays.
A variety of invertebrates inhabit the waters of the Bolsa Chica such as sea hares, sea cucumbers, clams, mussels, worms and crabs.
Some of the plants you can spot are Pickleweed, Battis, Cord Grass, Saltbushes, Rushes and Sea Purslane. Upland areas and sand dunes support a variety of grasses, Goldenbush, Marsh Fleabane, Sand Verbena and Beach Primrose.
There are several hiking trails in the preserve. The main trail from the footbridge takes you to the hills overlooking the preserve with great views of the ocean.
Free public tours are offered at Bolsa Chica and leave from the south parking lot. The first Saturday of each month at 9:00 am, the tour is conducted by the Amigos de Bolsa Chica. The third Sunday of each month at 10 am the tour is conducted by the Bolsa Chica Land Trust. See http://www.amigosdebolsachica.org/tours.htm for tour information.
Additional information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolsa_Chica_Ecological_Reserve
Located along Pacific Coast Highway just south of Warner Avenue in Huntington Beach. Access from the north is from the parking lot on the south-east corner of PCH and Warner. Entrance to the reserve is just over the Warner Bridge. The south access is from the parking lot across from the entrance to Bolsa Chica State Beach on PCH about 1.5 miles south of Warner Avenue.
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