BALLONA WETLANDS SALTWATER MARSH

A stretch of the South Bay well-worth saving!

Habitat: Micro-forests, grasslands, open water, muddy shore

Terrain: Level throughout. Areas of paved walkway and packed dirt.

Facilities: Restroom in Del Rey Park.

Parking: At Del Rey Lagoon, along Pacific Ave and behind Alka Water on Culver Blvd. (When salt marsh is open).

The historical record for the Ballona Valley includes over 300 species. Salt & fresh-water birds (ducks, gulls, geese, grebes, loons and more) can be found in del Rey lagoon, the creek, and the near-shore waters. Rocky and sandy shorebirds (sandpipers) can be found almost all year along the margins of the lagoon at low tide, above the tide line on the beach and along the jetties that line the creek and marina entrance channel.

Check the vegetation in the park for flycatchers, warblers, mockingbirds and other songbirds. Walk out across the beach to check the shoreline for sandpipers. Quite often, the resident Black Oystercatchers can be seen on the south jetty of Ballona Creek. Walk along the top of this jetty to see Least Sandpipers, Black & Ruddy Turnstones, Surfbirds and more. Always watch the creek; many species of duck, cormorant, gull and tern can and do show up. Walk east along the creek past the Pacific Ave. Bridge. The first gate is usually open. Look over the lagoon and grassy areas for sparrows, flycatchers and warblers. Occasionally, the Kingfisher can be seen in this area. Herons and egrets are common.

If the 2nd gate is open, continue east for views over the wetlands to the right, and the creek to the left. Watch for birds of prey (Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Northern Harrier, White-tailed Kite). Black & Say’s Phoebes, Western Meadowlarks, and a number of sparrows utilize the pickleweed and salt grasses. At the big tide gate, check the opposite bank for many shorebirds. South of the creek, check the salt pan for large flocks of Black-bellied Plovers in the winter.