Natural History and Urban Ecology
La Mirada Regional County Park

Robert Jan "Roy" van de Hoek
Ballona Institute
322 Culver Blvd., Suite 317
Playa del Rey, California 90293
(310) 821-9045
©December 17, 2010

Nestled in the gently rolling hills above the Los Angeles Coastal Plain of eastern Los Angeles County in California, is found an interesting natural area of wildlife and wildflowers, prairies and meadows, forests and woodlands, lakes with islands, wetlands and uplands, all at La Mirada Regional County Park.

For the last year, I have been blessed honorably and uniquely priviliged with an opportunity to witness the bounty of life and nature at La Mirada County Regional Park. I have witnessed four seasons of nature, the comings and goings of birds with migration and nesting at La Mirada Park, as well as the comings and goings of wildflowers and wild fruits, leaves changing colors on beautiful trees and on wildflowers too.

As the winter solstice approaches on December 21, 2010, in particular, I have noticed the flaming red colors blaze against the deep blue sky of a tree called the Sweet Gum, while a yellow-feathered bird, a red-feathered bird, and blue-feathered bird share a branch on this tree, as the branches become bare, and leaves fall to the ground. These three birds, a goldfinch, linnet, and bluebird, were all perched gently on this wonder Sweet Gum in La Mirada Park.

La Mirada Park was established and created about 1971, which will be celebrating a 40th anniversary in 2011. Trees were planted, meadows and prairies planted, a lake created, and the birds, butterflies, and wildflowers began to appear in this newly created habitat of wetlands and uplands, and was restored to resemble how Los Angeles looked 100 years ago, along streams and rivers of the coastal plain.

During this month of December 2010, three Americans have arrived at La Mirada Park. These Americans are birds, with the name of "American" in their name, and they have arrived for the winter as migrating birds. These birds will spend the winter at La Mirada Park, and next spring, they will fly north with the spring, in order to nest and raise families. What are the names of these three American birds? They are the American Pipit, American Wigeon, and American Coot. On December 1, I observed 3 American Pipit, approximately 71 American Wigeon, and 233 American Coot in La Mirada Park.

This brief report as a published web page is the first time someone has written about the natural history of La Mirada Regional County Park. The report is preliminary brief introduction to the natural history of La Mirada Park with more reports, essays, and stories to follow in the coming weeks and months of 2011 in celebration of the 40th anniversary as a county park.

This report is not only a Natural History, it is also a study of Urban Ecology, Sustainability and Values, Environmental History, and can also be called Conservation Biology, Ecological Restoration, and simply Natural Science.