A closer look at Bonelli Park’s feathered residents
story and photography by Emily Lau
Some have traveled thousands of miles to find a place to temporarily call home, and others have long been familiar with its murky depths and sandy shores. They roam the shallow waters of Puddingstone Lake with their iridescent green heads and black bodies with beady red eyes. Their loud recognizable squawks echo in a unison as they chase pieces of bread scattered across the ground by children. Many know them as the ducks seen at every other park, but these common birds are mallards and American coots, just two of more than 250 species of birds that can be observed throughout the year at the 1,975-acre Bonelli Park in San Dimas.
The easiest to spot are the abundant waterfowls found floating near the shores of Puddingstone Lake. Mallard and coots are the most common, but larger white birds can be seen in the distance near the marshes and sometimes sighted wading in the shallow water near the shore. These herons and egrets are shy and less common but are more elegant and exciting to finally see. It is not a good idea to get too close, though, because they will soar back to the comfortable darkness of the marshes.
Other shorebirds, including killdeer and sandpipers, hop along the beaches and peck at the debris washed ashore. One might not even see them while walking on the beach, because the slightest movement causes the small birds to flutter away. Grebes look like mallards from afar, but their elongated necks and narrow beaks are unique. They silently float across the water and occasionally dive underwater, only to emerge elsewhere.
Though there are many birds on Puddingstone Lake, many other species can be found throughout the park. It may take patience, but one can catch a greater roadrunner scurrying across a dirt path or a downy woodpecker chattering high up in a tree.
The park is teeming with birds of many sizes and colors, from a small hummingbird fluttering from flower to flower, to a large heron wading in the marshes. Whether they are hiding in the tall trees, bobbing on top of Puddingstone Lake or soaring high above, these birds have made Bonelli Park their home.