Wildlife experts are excited about the idea of the light-footed clapper rail breeding in the wetlands as restoration continues.
By Anthony Clark Carpio
May 15, 2014 | 9:41 a.m.
Local bird photographer Steve Smith walked around the southern entrance of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, hoping to get another glimpse of the elusive light-footed clapper rail.
With a super telephoto lens attached to his camera, Smith wasn't just looking for the endangered bird. He was trying to find its chicks.
Birders and local ecologists are relishing recent news of the first recorded sighting of light-footed clapper rail chicks in the Bolsa Chica wetlands in decades, according to officials.
"We've been hoping for many years that clapper rails would breed here," said Kelly O'Reilly, reserve manager for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at Bolsa Chica. "I'm glad that they are nesting over there, and it's neat that they're close to where photographers can have an opportunity to take pictures of them."
Smith, 67, of Sunset Beach, saw a pair of clapper rails mating in the area in late March and snapped the first pictures of the three chicks on May 2.