Sunday, July 3, 2016

San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary--a gem in the middle of urban OC

I'm amazed at the diversity of what can be seen and experienced in a morning walk in the center of the urban environment of Orange County--skimmer, rabbit, flowers, coyote, bullfrog, butterfly, wasp, great blue heron, hummingbird,!

The Irvine Ranch Water District’s San Joaquin Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary (SJWS) is a true hidden gem, located year the University of Irvine’s campus. The marsh encompasses over 300 acres of coastal freshwater wetlands, and includes nearly 12 miles of trails.  The wetlands naturally clean urban runoff from San Diego Creek and help to protect the environmentally sensitive Upper Newport Bay.

As those who follow my photography will recall, I’ve visited the SJWS before, and like many of the places I go to photograph, I’m continually amazed at its natural beauty and the fact that I will see something new every time I’m there.  I thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet on the trails this morning, hardly seeing anyone else out there.  You don’t have to be a photographer to appreciate the SJWS…this is a terrific place just to walk around and get lost in your own thoughts.  Of course, if you have a camera, bring it, you never know what you might come across!  

This is a skimmer which just finished dragging it’s beak along the water…

Just can’t resist photography a cute rabbit!

In addition to the wildlife that is abundant, there are many beautiful varieties of flowers and native plants.

This guy was exciting to see.  He looks quite healthy…after sizing me up, he went about his business looking for smaller game (whewww!)

I heard the deep croaking of this frog well before I was able to find him.  Tucked deep in a thick growth, I felt lucky to spot him.

Graceful and beautiful…fluttering and unpredictable…eventually this butterfly settled down and posed for me.


This was a somewhat anticlimactic photograph of a Great blue heron with his big catch!  I stood there and watched him hunt for nearly 30 minute…

I never tire of photographing hummingbirds…they are so beautiful, and in combination with flowers make for gorgeous compositions.

Swallows are the most difficult birds for me to photograph.  They are small, and their flight “pattern” is completely erratic!  This was a lucky catch.