Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve

I traveled to Ontario, California, for five days to work in a booth at the Childrens’ Pastors’ Conference. I took an early flight so I’d have some time to bird. I looked for a place that was close enough to visit after my plane landed at midday and that had some birds on its checklist that I’d never seen. I found this place, about halfway between Los Angles and San Diego, and foolishly thought it would be out in the country.

It was, in fact, located in the town of Murrieta. I parked in the only open space in the lot. It was a large place with a lot of trails, so while there were people around, and while those people interfered with my birding at times, I was also out of sight of anybody else much of the time.

When I arrived, I talked the Charity, the staff naturalist, and told her what birds I was looking for. She showed me on a map exactly where to look.

I stayed about four hours and saw four lifers — and took these pictures. If I’d had another day, I might have gone back in the morning and walked some other trails that were more open and ran across hills and gave views of distant mountains. In its dry, scruffy way, it was a pretty place.




That’s a Rock Squirrel on the rock.


Acorn Woodpeckers were everywhere.


Western Scrub-Jay



At the end of the day, I had a few minutes before the park closed to get red chair photos. I was wandering around by the visitor center when Charity came out to ask if I’d had any luck. I told her about my afternoon and got this picture.




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