Find Talbert Nature Preserve
Many of the larger nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries in Orange County are found on the outskirts of town where a chunk of undeveloped land is being protected, but Talbert Nature Preserve is different. It is a preserve that has been creatively designed and it’s smack-dab in the middle of suburbia.
Situated in the City of Costa Mesa, Talbert Nature Preserve (TNP) includes almost 200 acres of “planned” habitats which have been developed into “islands” of different plant communities. The preserve is a bit difficult to get to since it is sandwiched between a city park and the Santa Ana River Channel. There is no dedicated parking lot for TNP, so it takes a bit of wandering to find it.
The best way to get to the main area of Talbert Nature Preserve is by first parking at Fairview Park, on Placentia Avenue. Get on the trail and head north. This will get you to a steep, but gradually sloped hill which leads down into the northern-most 100 acres of the preserve. The second and less visited area includes about 90 acres and is south of Victoria Street.
TNP’s plant communities are varied and quite distinctive from each. The habitats include alluvial woodlands, coastal sand dunes, native grasslands, sage scrub and a freshwater wetland. Trees at the preserve include Freemont cottonwoods, bay laurels, oaks and sycamores. There are also many California native plants here, including beach evening primrose, coyote bush, manzanita, mulefat and sagebrush.
The diverse plant life makes the preserve a haven for birds and wildlife. This a great place for birding since all the vegetation is welcoming to hundreds of different species. Raptors seem ever-present since falcons, hawks, owl and turkey vultures are observed here often.
Park amenities like restrooms and picnic tables are found in the adjacent Fairview Park. There are no amenities down in TNP, with the exception of the several miles of flat, unpaved pathways. These well-maintained trails make exploring the preserve a near effortless activity. That is of course, once you find the preserve.
Talbert Nature Preserve (parking at Fairview Park)
2525 Placentia Avenue, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 - (949) 923-2290