Posted by: atowhee | January 29, 2011


A field trip to find wintering birds in Marin County began at the Pt. Reyes National Seashore Bear Valley HQ.  Then we checked out Limantour all the way to the ocean, then both shores of Tomales Bay as far north as Marshall.  This was a trip sponsored by Point Reyes Field Seminars. I will do three more Marin trips for them in May and June of this year.

Tomales Bay was just ducky: thousands of Surf Scoters, more thousands of Greater Scaup, even a few of the Lesser type on the sheltered western shore.  Hundreds of Bufflehead and Western Grebes.  Dozens of Red-throated Loons, Eared Grebe.  And good sightings of Common Loon, Common Goldeneye and Belted Kingfisher. 

The day began with this distant coyote howling at the sunrise.  Then we quickly added a dozen bird species: Cal. Quail, White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrow, Brewer’s and Red-winged Blackbird, Say’s Phoebe, Starling, Acorn Woodpecker, Flicker, Junco, Crow, Raven, Scrub-Jay.  Back in the dense shade beneath towering Douglas-fir and dense ancient bay laurels: several varied Thrush and a couple Hermit Thrush.  Next, at Olema Marsh we heard Virginia Rail and saw our first White-tailed Kite hovering with its tail feathers fanned out.

One of teo dozen Night-herons sleeping alongside a small pond in Pt. Reyes Station, where Mallards and Wood Ducks hide in the willows below.

Male Anna’s Hummer.

How did I get that second eye?  This male Brewer’s Blackbird really only has one eye on the left side of his head.


In Muddy Hollow we had a flock of Pine Siskins eating buds off the alders and a Hutton’s Vireo who answered our call.  Earlier we’d been inspected by a curious Wrentit, intrigued by an imitation of his call. At the beach were Sanderings, Godwits, a lone Short-billed Dowitcher, two Red-necked Grebes offshore, scoters, Western Grebe and lots of cold, misting wind.  We left for milder climes.

We had over 60 species for the day.  Despite missing the King Eider that’s been reported around Marshall.

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