Monday, March 1, 2010

Beautiful Marin County

I came up to the SF Bay area to bird and see a friend who lives in San Rafael. Unfortunately his father needed emergency surgery back in Boston, so my friend and I did not get a chance to see each other. I did get to spend some time with his long time partner--a really good woman that I always like visiting with.

Since my friend was back east, I did bird yesterday, mostly at Point Reyes Nat'l Seashore. It was a sunny day in the low 60's, and being a Sunday, it seemed like every bicycle club in the north bay was out taking advantage of the good weather. I saw 14 new birds for the week, and 1 for the year--a fine looking male sharp-shinned hawk that landed in a tree right next to me. The sharpie brought the YTD total to 353 on the last day of February. You may remember that at the end of January the YTD total was 247. So in February another 106 new birds were added. And in March the number of new birds for the year will continue to slow down. That said, I feel good about having seen 353 different species in 2 months.

Today I birded in Petaluma, Bodega Bay and Pt. Reyes. It was cooler, windier and overcast. I was mainly trying to find either a pacific golden plover or a wandering tattler. There were no plovers to be found, but I did get a picture of a marbled godwit (see top photo above). And all the wandering tattlers had wandered away from their normal haunts. I did see 18 more birds for the week, and 2 were new birds for the year. Whimbrels were found on a jetty where the tattlers should have been, and a glaucous-winged gull was flying around where I tried to locate the plover. This is how it goes with birding. You may not find the bird you want, but you find others instead.

On my way down the coast from Bodega Bay to Pt. Reyes I stopped in at the Hog Island farm raised oyster operation. It turns out that they have a picnic area right on Tomales Bay where people in the know bring wine and food to eat with the totally fresh oysters. The oysters come in 3 sizes, and you buy them by the dozen, or in even larger quantities. They give you shucking knives, lemon and hot sauce. I had no wine or food with me, but I did spring for a dozen of the freshest oysters I probably have ever eaten. A couple sitting at the next table were well into what appeared to be 4 or 5 dozen oysters. If I lived nearby, I would make this a regular stop on a sunny day!

I did enjoy driving thru Marin county. It is very green right now because rains have finally come to a drought stricken northern California. When the hills are green here they remind me of parts of Scotland which I love to visit. The other picture above was taken for that reason--it looked like the coastal highlands area of Scotland. Tomorrow I will move further north in California on my way to Oregon. I am going to bird in some places I have never birded before. Stay tuned!


  1. So reassuring to see the fresh, vibrant green of spring! Glad to know that the drought has subsided in CA. You're right, the 2nd pic is Scotlandish!

  2. Hey Chris, I thought of you today while visiting Pea Island NWR. We were just passing through and couldn't stay and see it all. Wished I had time to give it as much as you are. I am inspired by your numbers. Liked the summary of monthly bird totals. Would like to see a list of the states you visit and count them down too. Keep lucky duck.