2011 Northern California … Part 13

I hated to leave the campground but I had to head South for the Pelagic Trips that start tomorrow.  Point Reyes is just North of San Francisco so I was going to get to cross the Golden Gate Bridge which I thought was some what exciting.

Just before getting to the bridge I pulled over at an area where the tide was way out and there were a dozen Long-billed Curlews working the mud flats.  These have to be one of the coolest looking birds with their incredibly long bill!

Long-billed Curlew

Long-billed Curlew

When I finally got to the Golden Gate Bridge I was once again foiled by the fog.  I stayed around for an hour or so and managed a couple of shots but not exactly what I was hoping for.  I might have been on the wrong end (North) to get the classic pictures I had seen from others.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

After I crossed over the bridge I got right back on US 1 so I could hug the coast going South.  Much of the drive was urban areas but I did manage a couple of stops.  I didn’t see much besides Gulls and Blackbirds but did manage another shot of the cliffs along the coast.

Brewer's Blackbird (female) ... She must have been wondering why I was laying on my belly!

Brewer’s Blackbird (female) … She must have been wondering why I was laying on my belly!

It seemed to me the 90% of the West Coast was nothing but cliffs!!

It seemed to me the 90% of the West Coast was nothing but cliffs!!

My next stop turned out to be a good one.  I stopped at Jetty Road right before you get to Moss Landing.  Up till now I had only seen 2-3 birders the entire trip but was surprised to see quite a large group of birders with scopes looking at a, at least for them, rare Piping Plover.  Looking at the field guides you can see that their distribution does not include any of the West Coast so I had stumbled upon quite a local rarity!

Piping Plover

Piping Plover

I did not have a ton of time to explore, another place for next time, but I was really impressed by the amount of wildlife in the immediate area.

Moss Landing ... Jetty Road

Moss Landing … Jetty Road, Click on the picture for a much larger image!!

For me the coolest thing at Moss Landing was the Sea Otters and Sea Lions.  There were tons of each …

Sea Lions

Sea Lions

Sea Otters

Sea Otters

and I managed a couple of closer shots of each!  The Otters were cute but the Sea Lions were quite the over the top characters!

Sea Otter ... They were eating crabs and were just so cute to watch!

Sea Otter … They were eating crabs and were just so cute to watch!

Cuteness plus!

Cuteness plus!

Contentment!

Contentment!

There were quite a few "discussions" going on due to the serious over-crowding on the pier!

There were quite a few “discussions” going on due to the serious over-crowding on the pier!

If I wasn’t scheduled for my first Pelagic trip in the morning I would have spent another day exploring this really cool area.  As it was, I got into Monterey early enough to check out the parking near Fisherman’s Wharf so I wouldn’t be stressing in the morning.  The next three days were going to be at sea and I was so excited because I knew almost every bird I would see would be a lifer!

Thanks for following and I’ll try to get the last couple of posts in the series done in the next couple of days!!!

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About sheriffsmith

I have worked for the Broward County Sheriff's Office the last 13 years and spend most of my free time birdwatching / naturewatching and photographing the birds and nature that I encounter. I believe God has blessed us with a world that is so absolutely fascinating and wonderful and I'm doing my best to discover and show others all that he has provided us with in nature.
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