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San Francisco Bay Area, California
January, February, March 2008

Bodega Bay and Sonoma County Area, California
January, February, March 2009

Bodega Bay, California
February 2010


    In the first few months of 2008, I was sent down to the San Francisco Bay Area (more specifically Marin County) for work.  During a few moments of free time, I was able to enjoy the area.  I went on the short loop hike (0.7 miles) of the Tiburon Upland Nature Preserve located in Marin County (north of San Francisco). The trail looped through oak, chaparral, and a little grassland.  It was somewhat steep with switchbacks and provided a view of the bay from the top of the trail.  A few flowers were already in bloom, which was quite a shock for me considering it was in the 20s back home.
    I also was able to visit the John Muir Woods National Monument.  I took a short hike through the grooves of towering redwoods - the last remaining stand in the area - a vestige of what the entire area used to hold.  There are short, paved trails in the main canyon of the monument.  
Well-maintained dirt trails branch off the paved trails and lead upward to the further reaches of the monument and into the adjoining Mount Tamalpais State Park.
    One of our work sites was at Bodega Bay.  There were many places to explore in the area - including the beautiful bluffs over looking the ocean.  The Sonoma Coast State Beach is located on the outer coast of Bodega Bay.  This long stretch of sandy beach was great for a stroll and for beach combing.  The Say's and Black Pheobes seemed to call it home.  And many Sanderlings, American Pipits, and a lonely Snowy Plover came for a visit or vacation for the winter. The bay itself was full of birdlife. Bodega Bay is a coastal wetland, which is a very important environment for a wide variety of birds. When I was there during the outgoing in coming tides, I saw many sandpipers including Willets, Marbled Godwits, Turnstones, Sanderlings, Yellowlegs and other peeps. Egrets and Herons were abundent, as were the many grebes, diving ducks, and Brants. Views from the road were pretty good. There are also some regional parks located around the bay, though they charge a fee. I would have liked to be able to spend more time birding there than working!

    A follow up trip for work in 2009 brought me back to the Bodega Bay area. The birds of the Bodega Harbor's coastal wetlands were as plentiful as last time, and the beaches were just as beautiful. During my few work breaks I was able to sit by the bay and watch the many shorebirds squabble loudly and hunt for food in the mudflats. Marbled Godwits dominated the mudflats of Bodega Harbor during the last week of January. By mid-February, large rafts of Black Brants filled the harbor. The wildlife in the area was plentiful. During the day, I spotted a bobcat casually stroll along the marshlands next to road and many black-tailed deer grazed without concern along the bluffs. Also during my stay, a mountain lion was believe to be roaming the area (though there were no confirmed sightings). A half eaten jackrabbit and the leftover carcass of a deer gave away its presence.



Golden Gate Bridge
Double-crested Cormorants,
San Francisco Bay
Huge flock of Double-crested Cormorants,
Alcatraz in the background
Surf Scoter,
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco waterfront
Coit Tower,
San Francisco
Bay Bridge,
San Francisco
Heerman's Gull, San Francisco Bay
Brown Pelican,
San Francisco Bay
Brown Pelican trying to swallow its meal in peace,
San Francisco Bay
Down the hatch!
Brown Pelican,
San Francisco Bay
Brown Pelican,
San Francisco Bay
Tiburon, CA
Tiburon, CA
Tiburon Upland Nature Reserve
Death Camas,
Tiburon Upland Nature Reserve
Long-petaled Iris,
Tiburon Upland Nature Reserve
Tiburon Upland Nature Reserve
Indian Warrior,
Tiburon Upland Nature Reserve
View from Tiburon Upland Nature Reserve

Note the orange leaves of the dying oak tree, caused by Sudden Oak Death (SOD) a problem afflicting the area.
Tiburon Upland Nature Reserve
Muir Woods National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument
Sunrise at Tiburon
Black Turnstones on the rocks,
Bodega Bay
Coastal plants at Bodega Bay
California coast
Harbor seals (light spots on the rocks in the lower right corner) rest on the rock shore
Sonoma Coast State Beach
Sand dunes around Bodega Bay
Foggy morning at the sand dunes
Moon setting over the dunes
California Quail are a common site and sound at Bodega Bay.
Bodega Harbor was full of seabirds, sandpipers, and wetland birds.

The bay is one of the few coastal wetlands in the area.

A Great Egret and a Great Blue Heron look for a meal.

Buffleheads in the foreground.

Marbled Godwits in the background.

Willets were common in Bodega Harbor.
Snowy Egret,
Bodega Harbor

To see a Snowy Egret feed, click here.

Marbled Godwit,
Bodega Harbor
Marbled Godwit,
Bodega Harbor
White-tailed Kite,
Bodega Bay
Ah the Birds!

The schoolhouse featured in Hitchcock's The Birds
The church featured in Hitchcock's The Birds
Semipalmated Plover,
Sonoma Coast State Park
Semipalmated Plover,
Sonoma Coast State Park
Sanderlings and Dunlin,
Sonoma Coast State Park
Sonoma Coast State Park
Sonoma Coast State Park
Least Sandpiper (foreground) with Sanderling and a Dunlin,
Sonoma Coast State Park
Marbled Godwits fill the bay during an outgoing tide,
Bodega Harbor
Marbled Godwit,
Bodega Harbor
Marbled Godwit,
Bodega Harbor
Black Phoebe,
Bodega Harbor
Lesser Scaup,
Bodega Harbor
Great Egret,
Bodega Harbor
Snowy Egret,
Bodega Harbor
Gooseneck barnacles
Coastal Onion

Bird List

Common Loon (T, S, B)
Red-throated Loon (S, B)
Western Grebe (T, S, B)
Horned Grebe (T, S, B)
Brown Pelican (T, S)
Double-crested Cormorant (T, S, B)
Pelagic Cormorant (T, S, B)
Brandt's Cormorant (S, B)
Great Blue Heron (T, B)
Great Egret (S, B)
Snowy Egret (B)
Canada Goose (T, B)
Brant (B)
Mallard (T, B)
Ruddy Duck (B)
Surf Scoter (T, S, B)
Bufflehead (T, S, B)
Common Goldeneye (S)
Barrow's Goldeneye (S, B)
Greater Scaup (T, S, B)
Lesser Scaup (B)
Red-breasted Merganser (B)
Wild Turkey (B)
California Quail (B)
White-tailed Kite (B)
Osprey (T, B)
Bald Eagle (T, B)
Red-tailed Hawk (T, B)
Red-shouldered Hawk (Roadside)
Northern Harrier (B)
American Kestrel (B)
Peregrine Falcon (B)
American Coot (S, B)
Killdeer (T, B)
Snowy Plover (B - Sonoma Coast St Beach - 1)
Semipalmated Plover (B)
Willet (T, B)
Marbled Godwit (B)
Whimbrel (B)
Greater Yellowlegs (B)
Black Turnstone (B)
Black Oystercatcher (B)
Sanderling (B)
Western Sandpiper (B)
Least Sandpiper (B)
Forester's Tern (B)
Caspian Tern (B)
Western Gull (T, S, B)
Glaucous-winged Gull (B)
Ringed-bill Gull (B)
Heerman's Gull (S)
Mew Gull (B)
Turkey Vulture (T, B)
Barred Owl(T)
Rock Pigeon (T, B)
Mourning Dove (Roadside)
Eurasian Collared Dove (B)
Anna's Hummingbird (T, B)
Northern Flicker (T, B)
Downy Woodpecker (T, M)
Black Phoebe (T, B)
Say's Phoebe (B)
Common Raven (T, M, B)
American Crow (T, M)
Steller's Jay (T)
Western Scrub Jay (T, B)
Violet green Swallow (roadside)
Barn Swallow (B)
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (T, M, B)
Bushtit (B)
Winter Wren (M)
Bewick's Wren (B)
Marsh Wren (B)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (M)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (T, M)
American Robin (T, B)
Hermit Thrush (T)
Varied Thrush (M)
Western Bluebird (B)
Northern Mockingbird (T, B)
American Pipit (B)
European Starling (T, B)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (T, B)
Townsend's Warbler (T)
Fox Sparrow (M)
Song Sparrow - California coastal variety (B)
White-crowned Sparrow (B)
Golden-crowned Sparrow (B)
Savannah Sparrow (B)
Dark-eyed Junco (T, M)
California Towhee (T, B)
Western Meadowlark (B)
Red-winged Blackbird (B)
Brewer's Blackbird (T, B)
Brown-headed Cowbird (B)
House Finch (B)
American Goldfinch (T)

T = Tiburon and Marin county (human habitation, eucalyptus, bay, oak, charrapal)
S = San Francisco Bay (bay, marinas)
M = Muir Woods (redwood forest)
B = Bodega Bay and surrounding beaches (open bluffs, rocky shore, marina, bay, open coast, sandy beach)

Other Critter List

Bobcat (B)
Gray Fox (B)
Sonoma Chipmunk (M)
Cottontail/Hare sp. (T, B)
Striped Skunk (T, B)
Raccon (B)
Black-tailed Deer (T, B)
California Sea Lion (S, B)
Harbor Seal (T, S, B)

February 2010



Tiburon Upland Nature Preserve
Muir Woods National Monument
Sonoma Coast State Beach/Park


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