Did you know that birdwatchers travel here from all over the United States to catch a glimpse of the light-footed clapper rail? This timid marsh bird is one of Newport Bay's celebrity species, but it is quite camera shy. In contrast, the bobcat is at home on the stage, and will calmly, and in the middle of the day, walk across the patio of a neighboring home with its cubs in tow.
In all, nearly 200 species of bird, nearly 80 species of fish, and many mammals, reptiles and amphibians, are found at the Upper Bay, the largest of only a few remaining natural estuaries in southern California. Also known as the Back Bay, this important wildlife refuge lies in the heart of Newport Beach. The more than 1 square mile of open space is truly the backyard for local residents.
Come join the Newport Bay Naturalists and Friends (NBNF) at the Back Bay Science Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday for the first annual Newport Bay Celebrity Species Symposium. Wildlife experts will spend the morning giving presentations on endangered birds (including the light-footed clapper rail), oysters and pond turtles. In the afternoon there will be a selection of field trips from which to choose, including a boat trip to explore areas of Newport Bay where eelgrass has historically been found.