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Wildlife in Los Cerritos Wetlands, Gum Grove Park & Heron Pointe Cultural Education Center

A few samples of species found in the wetlands area; however, this page represents only a fraction of the birds and wildlife found at various Los Cerritos Wetlands properties. 
Also see the "wildlife log" at the end of this page and species list in Appendix A in the Los Cerritos Wetlands Habitat Report found on the official Restoration Website.   

For those not familiar with the area, a map of the various wetlands properties, and a list of which are in public hands, can be found on the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority web page.  Many areas of these lands have been threatened by various development proposals over the years but today many have been purchased and instead set aside for future wetlands restoration, which is currently in the planning stages.  Historically the all the land could have been alkali meadows (a type of wetland near rivers) and salt marsh, closely resembling the only original remaining marsh (known as "Steam Shovel Slough") on the property noted on the map as "Berger and Dean Properties", now still privately owned by Synergy Oil.  Although most are classified as "degraded wetlands" with only one pristine marsh left ("Steam Shovel Slough") a variety of native plants, wildlife and birds have survived all over Los Cerritos Wetlands.  Gum Grove Park and Heron Pointe Cultural Education Ctr trail is the only publically accessible "perimeter" trail of Los Cerritos Wetlands at this time.  Other areas of this future wetlands restoration can be explored by guided tours held monthly by El Dorado Audubon and Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust

Click any picture on this page to enlarge.

Osprey at Steam Shovel Slough, 7/9/16

Hooded oriole at Hellman Property, 7/9/16

Willet, still in breeding plumage, at Steam Shovel Slough, 7/9/16

Killdeer, at Steam Shovel Slough, 7/9/16

Least tern, at Steam Shovel Slough, 7/9/16

Crab among the cord grass, Steam Shovel Slough, 6/12/16


Northern pintails, Hellman Property, 3/12/16

Northern harrier, Hellman Property, 3/12/16

Northern flicker, Hellman Property, 2/13/16

Dowitcher, Hellman Property, 2/13/16

Orange-crowned warbler, Hellman Property, 1/9/16

Northern shoveler, Hellman Property, 1/9/16

White-tailed kite, Hellman Property, 9/12/15

willets at Los Cerritos Wetlands lcw_wildlife/12-26-2011-119.jpg
Willets, Hellman Property section of Los Cerritos Wetlands, Audubon Christmas Bird Count Dec 2011

salt marsh moth caterpillar - lcw_wildlife/10-8-12-028b.jpg
Caterpillar on Coast Goldenbush, Salt marsh moth - Estigmene acrea, 10/8/12 near Hellman Bio-swale

Great Horned Owl - lcw_wildlife/9-27-12-027b.jpg
Great Horned Owl, flew across the Hellman Property into a tree at Gum Grove Park, 9/27/12

Great Horned Owl - lcw_wildlife/9-27-12-047.jpg
Great Horned Owl sitting in a Eucalyptus Tree at Gum Grove Park, 9/27/12

Snowy Egret - lcw_wildlife/10-13-12-005.jpg
Snowy Egret, Hellman Ranch property, 10/13/12

Facts about Snowy Egrets: 

Black Phoebe - lcw_wildlife/10-13-12-053.jpg
Black Phoebe, Hellman Ranch property, 10/13/12

Great Blue Heron - lcw_wildlife/10-13-12-062c.jpg
Great Blue Heron hunting in the pickleweed, Hellman Ranch property, 10/13/12

White Tailed Kite lcw_wildlife/kite.JPG
White Tailed Kite, Hellman Property, 12/26/11

Wild Mallard Duck, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret. Hellman Prop, 12/26/11

loggerhead shrike lcw_wildlife/12-26-2011-090.jpg
Loggerhead Shrike, sitting on a wire above the Hellman Property, 12/26/11

mallards - lcw_wildlife/12-26-2011-072.jpg
2 pairs of wild Mallards at Hellman Property, 12/26/11

great blue heron - lcw_wildlife/12-26-2011-074.jpg
Great Blue Heron (GBH) on the Hellman Property, 12/26/11

snowy egret - lcw_wildlife/12-26-2011-095.jpg
Snowy Egret, Hellman Property, 12/26/11

Canadian Goose - lcw_wildlife/12-18-2011-145.jpg
Canadian Goose, by the Hellman Property, 12/18/11

Canadian Goose - lcw_wildlife/12-18-2011-133.jpg
A large flock of Canadian Geese at the Orange Co. Retention Basin by Hellman Property, 12/18/11

Monarch Butterfly, Gum Grove Park, 12/18/11

Red Shouldered Hawk - lcw_wildlife/12-18-2011-116.jpg
Red Shouldered Hawk, Gum Grove Park, 12/18/11

Coyote - lcw_wildlife/9-6-11-051.jpg
Coyote, on the Hellman Property next to Gum Grove Park, 9/6/11

Very good coyote fact editorial on LBReport:

More coyote facts: http://eol.org/pages/328608/details

Coyote - lcw_wildlife/9-6-11-050.jpg
Coyote, on the Hellman Property next to Gum Grove Park, 9/6/11

Living with Coyotes, good advice from CA DFG:

Lizard, Heron Pt Cultural Ed Ctr (next to Hellman Property), 9/6/11

woodpecker - lcw_wildlife/12-18-2011-109.jpg
Woodpecker, Gum Grove Park, 12/18/11

Bird nest, fallen out of a tree in Gum Grove Park, 12/18/11

Sparrow, Gum Grove Park, 12/18/11

Say's Phoebe - lcw_wildlife/12-18-2011-008.jpg
Say's Phoebe sitting on the stump, Gum Grove Park, 12/18/11

Red-tailed Hawk -- lcw_wildlife/1-29-11-019.jpg
Red Tailed Hawk in flight over the Hellman Property, 1/29/11

Great Egret - lcw_wildlife/1-29-11-002.jpg
Great Egret on the Hellman Property, 1/29/11

White-crowned Sparrow - lcw_wildlife/sparrow-2-12-11.jpg
White-crowned Sparrow at Gum Grove Park, 2/12/11

Coyote -- lcw_wildlife/coyote8-19-10-011.jpg
Coyote seen from Gum Grove, 8/19/10

Two frog species found at Los Cerritos Wetlands.  Below left a video by Tidal Influence showing a juvenile California Toad (recently transformed from tadpole); video below right, the sounds of Pacific Chorus Frogs (also called Pacific Tree Frogs or Baja California Tree Frogs). 
www.californiaherps.com for the ID’s! 

Baja California Treefrog:

Red-tailed Hawk nest, 4/6/10

Gopher Snake -- Gum-Grove-Park/4-28-10-103.jpg
Gopher Snake (not poison), Gum Grove 4/28/10

A snake's shedded skin, Gum Grove parking lot, 9/6/10

Egret tracks and coyote tracks, Hellman Property, 12/19/09 Xmas bird count event

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars -- Gum-Grove-Park/4-28-10-101.jpg
Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars (the plant is a milkweed from South America, Asclepias curassavica)

Thanks Tree of Life Nursery (California native plants) for the ID on the milkweed.

Monarch Butterfly

California Horn Snail - lcw_wildlife/10-3-12-009c.jpg
California Horn Snail on Hellman Property (common in wetlands), 10/3/12

Interesting news article on the California Horned Snail:

Red-shouldered Hawk -- lcw_wildlife/hawk5-11-10-015.jpg
Red-shouldered Hawk, Gum Grove Park, 5/11/10

Not sure the exact name of these birds, common in wetlands, maybe Dowitchers, 12/19/09

Red-Shouldered Hawk in Gum Grove Park

Cottontail Rabbit at Heron Pointe Cultural Education Center

Lizard sitting on the wall along the path at Heron Pointe Education Center

Cottontail Rabbit at Heron Pointe Education Center

Black Pheobe, Gum Grove Park

Juvenile House Finch -- 8-1-09-059.jpg
Juvenile House Finch, Gum Grove Park, 8/1/09.

Canadian Geese, 4/11/09

Mourning Dove -- 8-15-09GumGrove-216.jpg
Mourning Dove, Gum Grove Park, 8/15/09

Juvenile Lizard, Gum Grove parking lot, 8/15/09

Ground Squirrel Gum Grove Park 8-19-09-009.jpg
Squirrel, Gum Grove Park, 8/19/09

Black Phoebe - GumGrove8-19-09-014.jpg
Black Phoebe, Gum Grove Park, 8/19/09

Animal tracks on the Hellman Ranch side of the fence, Gum Grove Park, 8/19/09

Racoon Tracks - lcw_wildlife/10-6-12-057.jpg
Racoon Tracks, by Marketplace Marsh, 10/6/12

House Finch - lcw_wildlife/3-10-12-011a.jpg
House Finch, Gum Grove Park, 3/10/12


Audubon Christmas Bird Count 2011 at Los Cerritos Wetlands in the news:

A good resource, many beautiful pictures of wildlife in the Long Beach--great field guides and a book! 

Video:  A surprising find at Los Cerritos Wetlands Zedler Marsh, a Red Diamondback Rattlesnake!

Video:  Green Sea Turtles in the San Gabriel River just above Los Cerritos Wetlands:

Video:  Flock of Canadian Geese at Los Cerritos Wetlands

Wildlife "log" from the Save Los Cerritos Wetlands facebook group:
Topic: What wildlife have you seen at Los Cerritos Wetlands?

This includes the Gum Grove Park area, Loynes Dr area, the pond next to the Market Place, the habitat restoration areas, Zedler Marsh. What birds or mammals have you seen in or around our wetlands?

This evening just before dark (3/16/10), from Gum Grove Parking Lot, three coyotes walking around the Hellman property below. Many birds too but too far to identify.

3/20/2010, early a.m. -- Great Horned Owl

Plus squirrels, lizards, hawk, mourning dove, black phoebe, hummingbirds, great blue egret ... then I lost count.

3/27/2010, evening:

White Tailed Kite (hovering and diving for rodents)

Hooded Oriole--male (bright yellow bird black throat

Red Tailed Hawk (flying low across Hellman property hunting)

House Finches(in the palms)

Hummingbirds (in the Mule Fat and trees)

Great Egret (flying over Hellman property

Squirrels (near the parking lot)

Rabbits (on Hellman property)

Good online resource, bird guide pages for species commonly found at Los Cerritos Wetlands (species name appears in the url):




















Evening of 4/6/2010:

cormorant, red winged blackbirds, great blue heron, american sparrows, house finches, white crown sparrows, flock of swallows, hu...mmingbirds, black phoebe, pair of nesting red tail hawks, coyote, the sound of croaking frogs and crickets, wild mallard ducks, great egrets

Morning of 4/10/2010 (Audubon Gum Grove Bird Walk): Too many to list! Among the observations, ash throated flycatcher, hummingbirds, swifts, swallows, red tailed hawk, red winged blackbirds, common yellow throat, goldfinches, house finches.

LWH:  We have seen red tailed hawks and one of my camp fire girls saw an owl while walking through gum grove park. Egrets of course and black crested night herons.

--about 5 months ago

Wednesday April 28th early afternoon:

2-3 ft long gopher snake! On the road, went back on to the Hellman Property (with a little coaxing). Butterflies (mourning cloak, monarch butterfly, monarch butterfly catepillars, rabbits, squirrels, lizards, birds: swifts, red winged blackbird, house finches, hawk smaller than a red tail with black bands on the tail and light colored breast.

Monarch butterfly:


Saturday May 1, 2010 a.m.

Turkey Vultures, red winged blackbirds, common sparrows, anna's hummingbirds, red tailed hawk (nesting), house finches, bush tits, unidentified white bird (kite maybe), small unidentied hawk (saw as noted on 4/28), mourning doves, Beldings Savannah Sparrow! Lizards, rabbits, squirrels, butterflies (monarch, mourning cloak, white), monarch butterfly catepillers, hundreds of tiny frogs.

Thursday Evening, May 13th 2010:

Red Tailed Hawk, Lizards, Goldfinches, Swallows, bushtits, house finches, hummingbirds, great blue heron, sparrow (possible savannah), many others unable to identify.

An official Audubon List of Bird Species observed here is at:


Ok, this was reported in a previous post now revised by M...both our notes combined. Amazing how much wildlife is on Loynes Drive! Beautiful in the evening there, great view of the large marsh just across the river, good sunset views. The bird list (Thanks Mary!)

Tuesday evening 5/25/10 at Loynes Drive (Subarea 23) observed by Mary P.

Notes: Walked along Loynes Drive from Los Cerritos Channel to Belmont Shores Mobile Home Estates boundary, observed birds on 5400 Loynes Drive property. House Finch pair in and out of palm tree

Number of species: 15

Mallard 2 Fly over

Black-crowned Night-Heron 3 Fly over

Mourning Dove 3

Anna's Hummingbird 5

Allen's Hummingbird 1

Cassin's Kingbird 1

Western Scrub-Jay 1

Northern Rough-winged Swallow 17

Barn Swallow 22

swallow sp. 34

Bushtit 3

European Starling 1

Yellow-rumped Warbler 1

Song Sparrow 1

Bullock's Oriole 1

House Finch 45

Wednesday Evening, Location: 5400 Loynes Drive

Observation date: 5/26/10 by Mary & Cindy

Notes: Route is walking along Loynes Dr. from bridge over Los Cerritos Channel to edge of Belmont Shores Mobile Home Estates

Number of species: 10

Mallard 2 Fly over

Cooper's Hawk 1

gull sp. 1 Fly over

Northern Rough-winged Swallow 9

Barn Swallow 15

Cliff Swallow 5

swallow sp. 55

Northern Mockingbird 2

Hooded Oriole 1 likely nesting pair, female seen 5/25/10

House Finch 55

House Sparrow 3

Morning Dove 2

Late evening 6/13/10, in only a 20 minute walk...here is the list! It was feldgling day...young birds that just left the nest yet mom and dad were still feeding them. So many I couldn't count them all!

2 young hawks (looked like Coopers, had banded tail with a white tip)

Barn Swallows

many house finches and their fledglings

cormorant (fly over)

Black Phoebe

Anna's Hummingbirds





about 3 months ago · Delete Post

Evening of 6/29/10:

Great Blue Heron and at least a dozen Terns, fly over (Terns flying from Seal Beach Naval Weapons/Wetlands direction to Long Beach Marina and returning to SB with fish, interesting linkage to LCW area)

Half dozen or so coyotes, squirrels, rabbits

Dragon flies

another passing walker said she saw a snake

House finches by the hundreds, 7 or more black phoebes, dozen or more hummingbirds

Barn swallow

Red Shoulder hawk

Rough wing swallows, flock, flying in circles around the area I stood, very close

Hawks -- 3 in a downed tree across the trail, no more than a few feet from me, sounded like a young hawk was on the ground in bushes next to downed tree, baby and parent calling back and forth to each other.

Evening of 8/19/10, overlooking Helman Property from Gum Grove:

Coyote night! A family, two parents and three pups (nearly grown). The pups were playing and all 5 were very curious about the people watching them. Both parents came very near the fence, more interested in hunting rodents than us. The coyote watching lasted for almost an hour, usually they disappear into the brush quickly.

Other wildlife (birds) spotted:

a flock of about 40 american crows

around 60 or more house finches

red tailed hawk

black phoebe

mourning doves

Sat am, 9/4/10 at Habitat Restoration, Zedler Marsh:

Coyote, Killdeer, American Kestrel, Mourning Doves, Godwit (probably Marbled Godwit), squirrels. Today's event preparing Zedler for the 10/10/10 planting...at 10am. At this event we gathered Alkalai Mallow seeds for future planting, gathered up rocks and my favorite--killed bad plants. Endangered plant Southern Tarplant is in bloom, California Goldenbrush is about to bloom out. Lots of pickleweed everywhere. Good morning.

9/4/10, Gum Grove Park, last half hour of daylight:

24 american crows

11 house finch

1 phoebe

1 coopers hawk

1 osprey

1 white tail kite

5 hummingbirds

Cotton tail rabbits (on the Gum Grove Park side of the fence)

5 coyotes (2 parents, 3 pups, Hellman Property side of the fence next to Gum Grove)

4 great blue herons (fly over)

Second time recently I’ve seen the coyote family in the exact same spot. Seems not very many rabbits on the Hellman side of the fence—they are getting smart and staying on the Gum Grove Park side, probably why the coyotes are coming so close.

Monday morning, 9/6/10, Gum Grove Park/Heron Pointe/Hellman Properties section of Los Cerritos Wetlands:


3 turkey vultures, 2 or more red tailed hawks, cooper hawks, american kestrel, swallows, house finches, black phoebes, hummingbirds, sparrows (maybe savannah), cormorant, great blue heron, wrens, american crows


butterflies (including skippers, monarchs, swallows, cloaks, solid white (don't know the name--want to say white cabbage), bees, dragonflys.

reptiles: many lizards and snake evidence--freshly shed snake skin

mammals: squirrels, rabbits (the hawks were very actively hunting them)

California native plants: pickelweed, Southern Tar Plant (endangered wetlands plant), seaside helitrope. Heron Point you will see a nice assortment now in bloom--Cleveland Sage, California Fuschia, California Encilia, California Buckwheat, Coast Goldenbush, more seaside helitrope

No coyotes this a.m., first time I have NOT seen those in recent weeks but I'm sure they were there in the brush someplace, too late in the morning for them probably.

9/11/10 am Gum Grove Park Bird/Nature Walk:

Coopers Hawk, Red Shouldered Hawk, Turkey Vulture

House Finches, Black Pheobe, swifts, swallows

Mourning Doves, American Crows

Butterflies: Monarch, White Cabbage(?), blues, skippers

Hundreds of little baby lizards

cotton tail rabbits, squirrels

Wetland plants: pickelweed, seaside helitrope, salt grass, mulefat, southern tarplant

California native plants: cleveland sage

click here to play video

The video (click above link) shows the view looking at Hellman Ranch from Heron Pointe Education Center.  Although the video does not show much, the background noise heard is a rather large group of coyotes yapping.  A fire truck with sirens blaring drove down PCH...apparently coyotes don't like this sound any more than dogs do, they all started howling and yapping.