Actually, at Point Reyes Station and Point Reyes National Seashore, but that's one of my favorite songs--as sung by the great Judy Garland.
Matty and I went to Point Reyes today -- what an amazing place. Sadly, we were socked in by some very thick fog, but I managed to get some decent pics... and two lifers! (possibly three, but I'll need your verdict on that--see later in the post.)
First, the lifers! I have been hoping to see what I call the Elvis of the bird world for some time, and I was not disappointed; check out the stylin' hairdo on this California Quail:Here he is with his little family (most of them--he has another young one farther ahead of him on the path but he was too blurry to make out, so I cropped him out):I like how he's the only one who's hitting the hair product; Mommy and Baby have far to go to get a bouffant like Daddy's. I had to pull a Mary when I saw Daddy posing on the post; I hit the brakes, whipped the car around, drove back at a creeping pace, and snapped his pic. He then fluttered to the ground and called his family together, and they hot-footed it into the thicket of plants there at the roadside, peeping all the while.
Here's lifer #2, which incidentally also merited a hit-the-brakes-and-turn-around maneuver, a Western Grebe!
This was in Tomales Bay, not the ocean. After (ahem) kinda-sorta stopping traffic while executing a U-turn to get us back on our way after getting the pic, Matty informed me that there would be no more Lifer Quick-stops. Good thing we were on the way home at that point!
I also saw this White-crowned Sparrow way up at the top of the cliffs near the lighthouse:And hey--isn't that an egg to his/her left? And a baby to his/her right?! Let me get more of the picture:Wow! I got a lot more there than I thought! Cool! But do you think that the egg will hatch? I mean, that baby looks pretty far along for him to be from the same clutch as the egg, unless the egg is part of a new clutch. We can hope, right? Still very cool!
Oh, and to clean up some old business regarding lifers: I'd been seeing what I had presumed were female Western Scrub Jays all over the place around here until I found out that the females of that species look much like the males. The birds I was seeing were robin-sized and -shaped, with a buffy-rufous patch on their heads and their undertail coverts. I finally figured out that I was seeing California Thrashers when I noticed that sharp metallic "CHEEK!" I keep hearing everywhere was coming from these same brown and buffy birds. So that was Lifer #210, and the California Quail and Western Grebe take the official ABA count up to 212! Woo hoo! I will try to get a pic of the Cali Thrasher because they're actually kinda pretty, if a little plain. The one I last saw had his head feathers fluffed up almost like a crest; he must've been pissed off at something (but not me; I kept a respectful distance from him!). I have been focusing so much on the markings and the body that I have completely missed the long decurved bill, but I'll check that out next time (I know just where to go on campus to see lots of them) when I get a photo.
So--we drove along Sir Francis Drake Road, along the peninsula that juts out (and has the lighthouse at its tip), and went all the way to the tip. I wish it hadn't been foggy or it would've looked like this:instead of like this:Can you see the waves hitting the beach down there? Maybe a little? Now imagine it's really windy and the fog is thick like Texas drizzle AND you're only wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Now it's really like you were there with us!
In addition to the above postcard, I also got this cool guide to California coastal birds, which is kinda cartoon-y but very handy and helpful. Here's their Western Grebe:and here's another picture of my Western Grebe:See the similarities? : )
Here are a few photos of what it looks like going out to the tip of the coast and up to the lighthouse, complete with young Tule Elks (I think--or else they're very woolly deer) and dairy cows wandering around all over the place:
Do you see the big brown furry Sea Lions in that last pic? Life mammal! Also saw a couple of gray Harbor Seals too, another life mammal!
Now--here's where I'm wondering if I'm seeing plain old Double-crested Cormorants or Brandt's Cormorants:
Brandt's Cormorants would be lifers, but gees--can YOU tell whether they have that head bump or not? I can't. What do you think?