Counting on the Coast

Today was designated Global Big Day by eBird, an effort to assess the health and diversity of avian populations across the planet.  Since we planned a morning visit to Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, just south of Fort Bragg, California, I decided to submit my observations from that location.

As we walked through the fabulous gardens, more birds were heard than seen but the wide diversity of foliage attracted an excellent variety of species; in addition, since the gardens extend to cliffs above the Pacific, a number of sea birds were observed.  Highlights of the morning count (which totaled 30 species) included pigeon guillemots, pelagic cormorants, Allen's hummingbird, olive-sided flycatchers, Steller's jays and a large number of white-crowned sparrows.  While my contribution to Global Big Day was modest, I was honored to participate and certainly enjoyed the experience.

South of the Gardens, we visited a magnificent sand dunes ecosystem at Manchester State Park and enjoyed a long, scenic hike to sea cliffs at Salt Point State Park.  Sea fog slowed our journey to Jenner where we turned inland, climbing along the beautiful Russian River; passing through the Coast Range, we escaped the fog and settled in a hotel room along Route 101.  Tomorrow we plan to visit the Point Reyes National Seashore before heading into San Francisco.