I love walking the shoreline and taking in what the ocean has to offer each day, but sometimes I find delights elsewhere. Not far from the coast near me is Laguna Grande. It’s a 34.8-acre (14-ha) park with a 12-acre (5-ha) “lake” (most would consider it a pond) established in 1950, and defines part of the Monterey-Seaside boundary. I’m guessing that at one time it was a tidal estuary connecting to Roberts Lake (just across the street) and the ocean about a half mile (.8 km) away, but the building of Highway 1 cut off that flow. It’s now a mostly freshwater laguna.
The area around Laguna Grande is an unassuming urban neighborhood park that offers a walking trail, playground, picnic areas and summer concerts. It’s also a local birding hotspot. Here are some delightful residents and migrants observed on a foggy day this past week with my Wednesday birding group (thanks!).
Pied-billed grebes are residents, as are great blue herons and American coots.
Clay-colored and Brewer’s sparrows are visiting and may stay for the winter. Look at the collar to help tell them apart.
The white-crowned sparrow is a resident.
The lovely Townsend’s warbler is a winter visitor and hopefully will stay for a while.
All of us were watched over by a young and handsome (or lovely since you can’t tell the gender) red-shouldered hawk.
There’s evidence that people are more likely to support exotic wildlife and parks across the globe than those nearby. These delights show that we’re all connected (so many migrants all year) and that we should value and protect what’s in our own backyards.