Posted by: atowhee | April 23, 2010

First Ever Pt. Reyes Bird Festival

The sky was pale blue, the temperatures mild, socks not needed.  Late afternoon fogs rolled in off the Pacific and the breeze kicked up.  A flotilla of Brant floated just offshore opposite Inverness on Tomales Bay.  The recently arrived Wilson’s Warbler males were buzzing in the brush.  A Blue Heron and Red-tailed Hawk were attending neighboring nests near the Bear Valley Visitors’ Center.  And the Western Bluebird brought to earth a  sky blue deeper than ever seen in the blue skies hereabouts.  They’re often bleached by the ocean’s reflection of the sun.

Western Bluebird, male.  He’s on the fence but firm in his position.

His mate sat nearby, alert to any passing insect  comestible.  There were many loafers about today, especially among us birders.  But, these loafers were the most attractive.  A half dozen Caspain Terns napping while the raw fish churned in their intestines.


At one time, around 11AM, there were thousands of these open-water divers.  As far as I could see in both directions from the Inverness Grocery parking lot (an under-appreciated birding hotspot), there were Greater Scaup along Tomales Bay’s eastern shore .  The flock was alloyed only with a few Western and Clark’s Grebe and a handful of gulls.


Location:     Pt. Reyes National Seashore
Observation date:     4/23/10
Notes:     Brant were offshore behind the Inverness Grocery.
Number of species:     70

Brant (Black)     200
Canada Goose     45
Gadwall     20
American Wigeon     45
Mallard     2
Northern Shoveler     60
Northern Pintail     30
Green-winged Teal     40
Greater Scaup     5000
California Quail     45
Pied-billed Grebe     2
Western Grebe     45
Clark’s Grebe     8
American White Pelican     1
Double-crested Cormorant     6
Great Blue Heron     2
Great Egret     30
Turkey Vulture     25,               Harrier 1
Red-shouldered Hawk (California)     3
Red-tailed Hawk (Western)     4
American Coot     4
Greater Yellowlegs     5
Willet     2
Marbled Godwit     2
Ring-billed Gull     8
Herring Gull     1
Rock Pigeon     30
Band-tailed Pigeon     2
Mourning Dove     4
Anna’s Hummingbird     4
Allen’s Hummingbird     1
Acorn Woodpecker     40
Downy Woodpecker     2
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)     1
Olive-sided Flycatcher     1
Black Phoebe     1
Steller’s Jay     2
Western Scrub-Jay (Coastal)     4
American Crow     16
Common Raven     2
Tree Swallow     60
Violet-green Swallow     14
Cliff Swallow     40
Barn Swallow (American)     20
Chestnut-backed Chickadee     6
Bushtit     2
Bewick’s Wren     2
Marsh Wren (Coastal Pacific)     1
Western Bluebird     4
American Robin     8
Wrentit     3
European Starling     80
Cedar Waxwing     25
Common Yellowthroat     1
Wilson’s Warbler     7
Spotted Towhee     6
California Towhee     8
Savannah Sparrow (Western)     1
Song Sparrow     14
White-crowned Sparrow     6
Golden-crowned Sparrow     20
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)     1
Red-winged Blackbird (Red-winged)     35
Western Meadowlark     1
Brewer’s Blackbird     12
Purple Finch (Western)     6
House Finch     10
American Goldfinch     14
House Sparrow     1


  1. Love the Western Bluebird photos! Sounds like a wonderful event. Sorry not to have come, but lots of out-of-state visitors this week and next.

  2. […] First Ever Pt. Reyes Bird Festival « Towheeblog on April 23, 2010 at 9:25 […]

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