Northern California, Part 3

Point Cabrillo Light Station was maybe my favorite part of my short 3 days in Northern California. It’s a special and beautiful place. It began operation in 1909.

The view from the light station:

Squirrels enjoying the ocean view:

We saw many Colombian Black-tailed Deer, common to the coast; guess how they got that name?

We did not see any mountain lions although there were warning signs. I never see them in Arizona either. Maybe I’m just not lucky or maybe I am. I did see a Northern Harrier but I have yet to get a decent photo of one; they’re fast, surveying fields for tasty rodents. Once again, I should have had my birding lens:

What would be really fun would be to rent the Lighthouse Keeper’s House, the Assistant Lighthouse Keeper’s House, or one of the 2 little cottages. You can find information about doing this and see more photos on their website.

It would be so exciting/eerie to have the light washing over you at night while hearing the roar of the ocean so close.

Cypress Trees over Picnic Tables

All of that seems so long ago and far away with the “new normal” we are all experiencing. Stay safe.

Northern California, Part 2

My friend and I had a great time at MacKerricher State Park, north of Fort Bragg in Mendocino County. Although it had rained the day before, it was beautiful on this day.

Brewer’s Blackbirds

Common Raven
Western Gull (lifer)

Black Oysercatchers (exciting lifers)

There was Cypress everywhere:

And Harbor Seals sunning themselves all over:

I did not have my birding lens with me so could not get good closeups of the seals but you can see a couple cute faces and whiskers by enlarging these photos, awwww:

More spectacular beauty…lovely memories…before we were all self-quarantining…

Northern California, Part 1

You can see this panorama larger here.

In January, I was in California for 4 days, meeting up with an old friend. I had never been that far north in California and was stunned by the extreme beauty, so different than what I have seen in other parts of California. Here are just a few photos from Fort Bragg with more posts to come.

Ice Plants

Surf Scoter (Lifer)
Black Phoebe

A Birdy Day

Those are Sandhill Cranes! My excellent birder friend, Karen, and I went birding the other day to Buckeye and Arlington, west of Phoenix, and had a very birdy day seeing at least 49 species and well over 1,000 birds. We saw 58 Sandhill Cranes in an agricultural field and this year we were able to get close enough to get decent photos. That alone was an awesome experience…but wait, there’s more…

Red-tailed Hawk

Vesper Sparrow
Loggerhead Shrike

Western Meadowlarks

We saw a Great Blue Heron rookery with many flying in and out. These 2 were on a nest together:

Long-billed Curlews in a flock of about 150

Burrowing Owl
Immature Bald Eagle

American Pipits

It’s very lush and pretty out in the agricultural fields, not something you usually associate with the Phoenix desert. I got 2 lifers, the Curlews as well as a Prairie Falcon that I only saw but did not photograph. We had a great birding experience.

Winter in the Desert

We went to the Desert Botanical Garden again a few days ago. It’s not quite time for the wildflowers to begin blooming but it’s always a pretty place to walk. No new birds either but I’ll keep trying…

Cactus Wrens, Arizona State Bird

Gilded Flickers

Curve-billed Thrashers

Gila Woodpecker