Yes, they’re back again, but my supply is limited, so send in your good wildlife photos (submission rules are on the left sidebar).
Today’s submission comes from ecologist Susan Harrison of the University of Californa at Davis. Susan’s IDs and narrative are indented, and you can click on the photos (twice if you want) to make them bigger.
Just north of San Francisco lies the miraculously wild Point Reyes Peninsula. In 1962, its 71,000 acres of coastal terrain and 80 miles of shoreline were set aside as the Point Reyes National Seashore, managed by the National Park Service for wildlife and hiking. The peninsula is bounded on the northeast by Tomales Bay – an arrow-straight segment of the San Andreas Fault — and on the west by open ocean. Its southern edge is Drake’s Bay, lined by a long gleaming arc of cliffs and beaches.
Drake’s Bay looking eastward from the tip of Point Reyes:
Seabirds, shorebirds, and marine mammals use Drake’s Bay’s sheltered waters. So did English pirate Sir Francis Drake, who in 1579 repaired his ship here, reminisced about the white cliffs of Dover, and inscribed a Plate of Brasse — never since found — claiming “Nova Albion” for Her Majesty.
Here is a brief wildlife-oriented tour of Drake’s Bay from west to east, taken in November 2023.
Pt. Reyes Fish Docks, a spectacular birding hotspot:
Red-Breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) at the fish docks:
Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) at the fish docks:
Black Oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani):
Young male Northern Elephant Seals (Mirounga angustirostris), preparing for breeding season by contesting a strip of beach:
Long-Billed Curlews (Numenius americanus) at Limantour Beach:
Marbled Godwits (Limosa fedoa) at Sculptured Beach, with view to Arch Rock and Double Point:
Tule Elk (Cervus canadensis nannodes) bulls in the headlands above the bay: