Saturday, 4 July 2015

Pt Reyes National Seashore, California

We had the 4th of July weekend in and around San Francisco and spent the Saturday travelling up the coast to Pt Reyes National Seashore.

First wildlife stop was at Bolinas Lagoon, where we had spotted Harbor Seals in our previous trip here in 1999. Sure enough, they were in the same spot, basking on the mudflats just offshore.

Harbor Seal, Bolinas Lagoon, California
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/11, 1/640
Harbor Seal, Bolinas Lagoon, California
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/11, 1/500

When we reached Pt Reyes, the car park was full so I dropped my passengers, who were keen to walk to the lighthouse, and waited for a park (which eventuated about 10 minutes later). As I sat in the car, I could see Turkey Vultures soaring along the cliff tops and over the beach to the north, so I opted to stay here and see what I could photograph rather than taking the walk up the hill to the lighthouse.

The first thing I spotted was this Mule Deer feeding on the edge of the cliff.

Mule Deer, Pt Reyes, California
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/11, 1/800
For a long while, the vultures stayed away from the cliff tops and were soaring over the beach and dunes.

Turkey Vulture, Pt Reyes, California
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/8, 1/640
Turkey Vulture, Pt Reyes, California
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/8, 1/1000

but persistence paid off and they eventually came closer.

Turkey Vulture, Pt Reyes, California
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/8, 1/800
Turkey Vulture, Pt Reyes, California
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/8, 1/1250
Turkey Vulture, Pt Reyes, California
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/8, 1/800

A pair of American Goldfinches was feeding on thistles. I couldn't get any closer as they were behind a barrier but happy to capture a record shot of these beautiful little birds.

American Goldfinch, Pt Reyes, California
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/16, 1/200

Common Murres were roosting on a rocky outcrop below the cliff.

Common Murre, Pt Reyes, California
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/11, 1/1000

Pt Reyes shelters Drakes Bay to the east and there's a colony of Northern Elephant Seals there. The viewing platform is a few hundred metres away from the colony but it does provide good views.

Northern Elephant Seal, Drakes Bay, Pt Reyes, California
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/11, 1/500

There was also a feeding frenzy of birds offshore, including Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Common Murre, Herring Gull.

Drakes Bay, Pt Reyes, California
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/11, 1/800
Drakes Bay, Pt Reyes, California
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/11, 1/800

The occasional pelican flew closer to the cliffs.

Brown Pelican, Drakes Bay, Pt Reyes, California
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/11, 1/800

and this Harbor Seal popped up for a look at the spectators.

Harbor Seal, Drakes Bay, Pt Reyes, California
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adaptor), ISO 400, f/11, 1/400

Back near the car park, a White-crowned Sparrow was feeding on grass seeds right beside the trail. So close that I had to remove the 2x adaptor to get some shots. It took me a while to work out what species this was as it looked just like the WCS with which I am familiar but without the white stripes on the crown. Further investigation led me to the nutalli subspecies, in which first year birds retain the juvenile grey-brown colouring where the white 'should be'.

White-crowned Sparrow, Drakes Bay, Pt Reyes, California
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f5.6, 1/1250

1 comment:

  1. Love all the types of Seals in this post and also the grat bird photographs.

    ReplyDelete

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