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ENVIRONMENT

Notes about your surroundings

November 06, 1994

Park preview--Early birds will get an appetizing treat for the senses at the sneak preview of Wagon Wheel Wilderness Park in Coto de Caza.

The predominantly oak woodland park is scheduled to open to the public in December, but through South Coast Audubon, anyone interested can take a guided tour Saturday at 8 a.m.

The 475-acre wilderness park was designed to have a natural look and will offer only a few recreational facilities, buildings, picnic tables and paved roads. No facilities will be available during Saturday's walk.

The tour will begin with a naturalist explaining the flora and fauna of the area. Participants will hike into the park via trails that meander through canyons and valleys. Along the way, birds, animals and plants of interest will be pointed out and identified.

Participants can expect to see a variety of wildlife, including deer, rabbits, gray squirrels, spotted woodpeckers and red-tailed hawks. This is an excellent time for birding, as many migratory species are currently in the county. In addition, seven pairs of nesting gnatcatchers were sighted at the park this year.

Participants should bring binoculars, a bird book and water and should wear sturdy yet comfortable shoes.

The park does not currently have adequate parking space for the number of cars anticipated for Saturday's event. Interested parties are asked to meet at the shopping center on the northeast corner of Oso and Marguerite parkways, near Pavilions. Groups will car-pool from that point to the park entrance.

South Coast Audubon asks that participants be on time, as the car pool to the park will begin promptly at 8 a.m. Once everyone is inside the park, the gates will be locked and latecomers will not be admitted.

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