New Year’s Day found Sarah, myself, and our friends Debey & Terry, with whom we spent a lovely and mellow NYE, hiking the trails in Marin Headlands.
We headed up the Coastal Trail, an old road, paved in places, that climbs along the western bluffs, right above the ocean.
Along the way, abandoned military bunkers and gun placements dot the hills, relics of the Cold War and standoff’ish times gone by.
We reached the top of the ridge and started down the north side, enjoying nice views of Mt. Tamalpais and Point Reyes in the distance. It was cool and breezy, but sunny – pretty nice for 1 January anyways!
Debey & Terry’s dogs, Sorella and Carmella, were thrilled to be out and about, running to and fro up and down the trail, probably getting twice the mileage as us bipeds.
On the way down, we enjoyed a fairly good look at a passing Peregrine Falcon, and many Turkey Vultures along with several each of Red-tailed Hawks, American Kestrels, and Northern Harriers hunted the grassy slopes and valleys. A passing hiker sported huge white feathers on the side of his pack, eliciting a “what the heck?” from us. We soon figured it out, though – a Barn Owl, presumably killed by a Great Horned Owl, lay a short ways off the trail, and this hiker had taken its wings. I’ll spare you the somewhat gruesome photo I took of the unlucky BAOW, but at least something else had a good meal of it!
Continuing on, we took the scenic route around Rodeo Lagoon, catching distant glimpses of the bird-eating River Otter family that inhabits it (for some great photos of this family and a failed Great Blue Heron hunt, see this post on Walter Kitundu’s excellent birding blog). The lagoon contained a bunch of female Common Goldeneyes, some Bufflehead and Scaup, and a mix of the usual grebes.
We soon found ourselves back at our cars, and headed home. A fine way to start the year indeed!
Distance: 5 miles
Time: 2h 12m hiking, 40m stopped
Elevation gain: ??? (GPS said 1460′ but that’s surely way too high)
Observation date: 1/1/08
Number of species: 36
+ Greater Scaup – Aythya marila 1
+ Lesser Scaup – Aythya affinis 1
+ Surf Scoter – Melanitta perspicillata 50
+ Bufflehead – Bucephala albeola 12
+ Common Goldeneye – Bucephala clangula 10
+ Ruddy Duck – Oxyura jamaicensis 4
+ Pied-billed Grebe – Podilymbus podiceps 1
+ Horned Grebe – Podiceps auritus 1
+ Western Grebe – Aechmophorus occidentalis 10
+ Brown Pelican – Pelecanus occidentalis 1
+ Turkey Vulture – Cathartes aura 15
+ Northern Harrier – Circus cyaneus 4
+ Cooper’s Hawk – Accipiter cooperii 1
+ Red-tailed Hawk – Buteo jamaicensis 8
+ American Kestrel – Falco sparverius 3
+ Peregrine Falcon – Falco peregrinus 1
+ American Coot – Fulica americana 5
+ Killdeer – Charadrius vociferus 3
+ Western Gull – Larus occidentalis 35
+ Anna’s Hummingbird – Calypte anna 2
+ Black Phoebe – Sayornis nigricans 1
+ Rock Pigeon – Columba livia 5
+ Mourning Dove – Zenaida macroura 8
+ Northern Mockingbird – Mimus polyglottos 1
+ Yellow-rumped Warbler – Dendroica coronata 1
+ Common Raven – Corvus corax 15
+ Wrentit – Chamaea fasciata 3
+ European Starling – Sturnus vulgaris 20
+ Spotted Towhee – Pipilo maculatus 1
+ Song Sparrow – Melospiza melodia 2
+ White-crowned Sparrow – Zonotrichia leucophrys 20
+ Golden-crowned Sparrow – Zonotrichia atricapilla 35
+ Red-winged Blackbird – Agelaius phoeniceus 5
+ Western Meadowlark – Sturnella neglecta 10
+ Brewer’s Blackbird – Euphagus cyanocephalus 15
+ House Finch – Carpodacus mexicanus 3
This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)
+ = year bird (all of them on this trip, of course!