I left Berkeley at 7 am with U and MF for a long and excellent day at Point Reyes. The weather was glorious! No fog, little wind even out at the lighthouse overlook. The sky was blue and the air clear. Farallones were clearly visible. We first stopped briefly at Park Headquarters, where we saw several large coveys of quail, a song sparrow that stumped us because it hadn't gotten its song together properly yet, dark-eyed junco, Brewer's blackbirds, and a bobcat that apparently has been hanging around the picnic area for several days. Kind of worrying for the animal. Next brief stop was where Sir Francis Blvd crosses the northern end of Drake's Estero. There we saw great egret, song sparrow, Savannah sparrow, several red-tails, what were probably a couple of Say's phoebes and heard, off in the distance, greater yellow-legs and clapper/Ridgway's rail. Then it was on to the first really cool spot, the old RCA site, labeled on google maps as the Cypress Tunnel, a long avenue of tall, old cypress trees that leads to a more open area with a few buildings, varied vegetation, and usually fabulous birding. Tragically someone had turned off the water leak and torn out all the vegetation around it that used to be an amazing draw for migrant birds, even a swamp sparrow one winter, but despite this misstep we had a great time there. Four warblers! ( Birds of the RCA site: )
Next stop was the Fish Docks, where I got a fifth warbler and a few other species. ( Birds of the Fish Docks: )
Bird of the day was here, a broad-winged hawk on migration.
There were other things up in the cypress but I could not pull them out. And of course we could see, and often hear, the elephant seals hauled out in Drake's Bay. We then went out to the lighthouse, where we saw the local peregrine, some cliff swallows, sundry sea birds (pos Brandt's cormorants) from a great height, and a few humpback whales. It was after 2 pm when we finally ate lunch at Drake's Beach beside a bank of willows from which we heard Bewick's wren, wrentit, song sparrow, California scrub jay, a Steller's jay faking a red-tail badly and, just before we left, presumably from the marsh behind the willows, a Virginia rail. Additional species seen along the road were Canada geese, wild turkey, tri-color and red-winged blackbirds in amongst the dairy herds, a Cooper's hawk, many red-tails, and an American kestrel. Somewhere we heard killdeer. Also saw deer and coyotes, but no elk.