View Full Version : Point Reyes, CA

Joerg Rockenberger
12-18-2008, 08:53 AM
I'll be staying at Pt. Reyes over the Xmas holidays. If anyone has recent intel re bird activity I'd appreciate if you could let me know.

Thanks, JR

Dan Brown
12-18-2008, 10:22 AM
Hi John, You probably are already aware of this but in case not, here's a link to Northbaybirds, a listserve for the area. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/northbaybirds/

and this one is for Calbirds.

Right now, the birders are all busy doing Xmas bird counts, so the bird news is slow. As the counts are completed though, if any hot birds are discovered, they will be posted.

Joerg Rockenberger
12-19-2008, 09:06 AM
Thanks Dan. Yes, I follow the various birding lists at sialia.com. Just wondered if someone had insight as to hot spots at Pt. Reyes from a photographer's perspective. JR

Dan Brown
12-19-2008, 11:15 AM
John, IMO, Point Reyes is not really great for bird photography. But,the best bird photo spots would be, (IMO again!) the Point Reyes Nat. Seashore visitor's center and Limantour Beach, both accessable from the eastern side of the park. On the south peninsula, on the way to the lighthouse, Drakes beach and the Fish Docks can be ok and to the north on the peninsula, Abbot's Lagoon is good but it is quite a walk from the parking area to the lagoon. Also in the north peninsula area there is a herd of Elk (if you can locate them?). On the eastern shore of Tomales Bay, north of Point Reyes Station along highway 1, you can pull over in a few spots and shoot birds where you find them. And, of course Bodega Bay isn't that far north, which is my preference for bird photography in that area. Good luck, I see that there's a big rain event heading our way about that time:eek:

Joerg Rockenberger
12-20-2008, 02:07 AM
Hi Dan,

Thanks for the feedback. Yes, the weather doesn't bode well next week. But then, the primary objective next week is too chill.
A bit surprised that Pt. Reyes is not good for bird photography. But there are of course the elk and there should already be some elephant seals. And I surely will check out Bodega Bay...

Maybe we'll run into each other. JR

Joerg Rockenberger
12-29-2008, 01:20 PM
Having spent last week at Point Reyes I think I agree with Dan that Pt. Reyes is not that great for bird photography. Granted the largely poor weather didn't help. But that aside it is relatively difficult to get close to the birds as they are shy and relatively widely spread out.

There are plenty of ducks on Tomales Bay or Bolinas Lagoon but usually too far away even at high tide, similarly at the Limantour estero with shorebirds. Here you'll also have to walk through the dunes down to the water which I am not sure of if it is officially approved. Besides there is the possibility that you might step on a mountain lions' tail taking a nap in the waist high grasses...

Five Brooks' pond had two pairs of Wood Ducks, a bunch of Wigeon's and some other ducks. All centered in the middle and fleeing quickly if you show up at the few openings in the vegetation surrounding the pond. Due to the high trees around it it is also in the shade for a long time...

One at least temporary hotspot seems to be the north side of the parking lot at McClures Beach near Pierce Ranch. Every morning after the sun comes out on this hillside I had a good dozens bluebirds, at least one Black and Say's Phoebe each, several yellow-rumped (or similar), at least one Bewick Wren and tons of Juncos scurrying around. They slowly come from the top of the hill down and can be as close as the MFD of the 500 if you're quiet - and no other cars pull in. If that happens they'll disappear for 15 - 30 minutes before they again approach slowly. But note, it seems that after about 2 hours of this the entire flock moves on to other places...

And yes, Bodega Bay looks very interesting with tons of shorebirds and waders. Was there though at a real gray and drizzly day and close to low tide. But it certainly deserves some more attention.

Hope this helps. JR

04-27-2009, 07:38 PM
Point Reyes has always been a disappointment for me in terms of birds (excellent for hiking/backpacking and landscapes otherwise) but I have never been able to get serious bird shots. One time I ran into a pair of ospreys on the arch rock at the end of the Bear Valley trail (about 4.5 miles from park center) but they were way too far and drifted away quickly. I have also seen quails and such but nothing exciting, I guess you need very detailed local information to spot the exotic birds, you might see great egrets and maybe blue herons and many turkey vultures but you can find these easily in other areas as well, plus you can't really get close due to the untouched terrain and vegetation. If you manage to go all the way to the beach on Estero trail (north of the park), and if the tide is low there is a tiny passage which will take you to a beach head close to an island with tons of cormorants, pelicans and possibly some exotic birds but you need a 600mm at least and need to keep track of time carefully as the tide will flood the passage on the way back...good luck!