Malibu Lagoon State Beach

Nestled in a secluded area of Malibu, the Malibu Lagoon offers unexpected delights for birdwatchers, walkers, and surfers. Each trip to this area welcomes me with ample (not free) parking and peaceful sights. The Malibu Lagoon is where Malibu Creek meets the Pacific Ocean.

On the west side of Malibu Creek Bridge, visitors will find stone picnic tables and a unique nature area, excellent for bird watching and the study of a unique eco-system, a Southern California saltwater marsh. All along the walking path are educational placards, explaining the importance of this area to the natural systems within the marsh and identifying the wildlife.

Birdwatching is a newly acquired hobby over the past nine years since my retirement. I had always kept a list of the birds that visited my feeder outside of the Gunpowder State Park in Maryland, but moving to my condo on the Assaswoman Bay in Ocean City exposed me to a wide array of shorebirds. I invested in excellent binoculars with a vision stabilizer to find the birds and a steady view to facilitating the experience.

Shorebirds are a remarkable collection of large and small species, from Osprey to tiny plovers. Shorebirds include a wide range of birds that live near water, such as plovers, sandpipers, gulls, and osprey, herons, and egrets. Some shorebirds have a long bill for probing in mud for food. Other birds, swim in the coastal ocean waters to catch fish.

The two common small shorebirds are called “peeps” in most of the West. Western Sandpiper has black legs, longer bill, droops slightly at tip. In winter, gray or gray-brown; perhaps the palest “peep.” Least Sandpiper has yellowish legs (unless stained by mud), has a shorter bill, and is browner.

Often, the larger birds will wade in the shallow water without particular regard to their neighbors. The smaller birds dart through the water, pecking continuously in the sand.

Malibu’s Surfrider Beach has a long-standing as a premier surfing beach. Surfers walk resolutely along the path which ends at Surfers’ Beach. All are encased in their wet suits, carrying surfboards tethered to their wrist. All appear experienced and willing to take on the roughest waves, navigating a somewhat rocky inlet.

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