Friday, September 5, 2014

Point Reyes, California

Since we had a long weekend we decided to head towards one of the popular tourist destination near by, Point Reyes. This is about 30 miles north to San Francisco and about 85 miles from the place I stay. I had seen lot of photos from this place on net and heard that it would be a very good spot to visit if the weather is clear. The forecast for the weekend was Sunny hence decided to check out the place.

Few of my friends suggested to start a little late. It gets very cold at this place and during foggy conditions the visibility is less than 5 feet. So we(Myself, Ramesh and Phani) started at about 9:30, it was about 2.5 hrs drive. The drive after SFO towards Point Reyes is very good. We pass through mountains and country side. You could see all these big ranches by the hill side. We also drive through some wooded forest where I saw some good camping places.

Point Reyes is famous for its light house which is right on the cliff. The scenery from here is just breath taking. We were lucky that there was not fog and we had clear blue sky.

Phani and Ramesh

View of Lighthouse from top

40,000 miles a year. How crazy is that?

Phani with his Jalsa phose :-)

We saw lot of raptors throughout the day. Since its kind of open grasslands everywhere it's good place to find raptors. I also saw american kestrel for the first time:-) Point Reyes is a very good birding destination. A total of 430+ bird species have been seen here which almost 50% of the bird species seen in US. I wanted to do lot of birding but din't get much chance. This is when I miss my Bangalore group. I was happy to see any birds that I came across during the trip. There was also a birding walk planned on the same day by audobon society but I did not have any ride hence had to cancel that walk.

This below hawk looks like a Red tailed hawk. First point to mark it under buteo is short tail, broad wings and very good at soaring. I saw this fellow soaring in the sky effortlessly. Infact when I took this photos he was almost stand still. Atleast the kestrel hover but this fellow was literally at the same place without even flapping his wings once. Based on wing and tail size along with the way it was flying I thought it should be from Buteo. The secondaries are prominently bulgingly rounded and the visibility of dark bordered patagial bar. These are some of identification marks for a Red Tailed Hawk.

Found all this info in below Youtube video which explains these hawks in a very detailed way. A very good video to learn the identification of raptors.

Red Tailed Hawk
There are also 'n' number of beaches here. We just visited Drakes beach and Limantour beach.

We got down at Drakes beach and immediately I saw this beautiful Sparrow with its beautiful yellow beak flying around in the parking area. I saw two of them. It was White Crowned Sparrow. There are lot of different sparrow species here and as with our pipits its a little difficult to identify these species here. It's good to see all these different kind of birds. I also saw lot of these Heerman's Gulls around.

White Crowned Sparrow


Heermann's Gull

We started our way towards the Limantour beach and on the way saw these group of deer's and I saw this huge male walking around. How I wish he had given that head turn :-)

Then we went to Limantour beach. Here I was very lucky to see Least Sandpiper and Semipalmated Plovers. It was their roosting spot. I could see only one Least Sandpiper in a group of  around 20 Semipalmated plovers.

Least Sandpiper

Semipalmated Plover

Came back home at around 8:30. It was a great trip. But its a place which I would definitely want to visit again but this time just for birding and plan it during winter :-) 


  1. Great going KB .bNice blogs and even nicer pics.

  2. Srinivas, nice writeup of the place. I also sent you a message on Meetup. Please let me know.


    -- Vivek
    vkhanzode at gmail dot com