Arcata Marsh Bird List
February 11, 2015
With fresh coffee in the thermos, dog in car and the GPS pointing toward Arcata Marsh, California, we headed out. This marsh was one of the best places to bird on the west coast, and you can very well bet I was ready to see a lot of birds and a lot of strange things I’ve never seen before…
Arcata Marsh is just north of Eureka, and luckily for me, just 15 minutes from my kabin. I arrived at 8:23 a.m. and proceeded to get my equipment together. This was to be the first time I field tested my new heavy-duty tripod. So, with backpack on the back, digital camera with 200mm lens around my neck, 20×80 binoculars securely on the new tripod and the tripod resting on my shoulder, small binos in my pocket (dog in car, sorry Joey), and coffee cup in the remaining free hand, I headed for the trail. If you are new to birding – remember, NEVER leave any equipment behind that may cost you a bird! When in doubt, bring it! This includes food, because if you’re hungry, you’ll be impatient, and you can never be in a hurry when birding. Continue reading
This is how far this little scoter is from home: 5,278 miles. He is from Holland and he took a very wrong turn.
Needless to say, I had to go see this bird. It is the first ever sighting of the Common Scoter in the United States. Ever. I left Scappoose, Oregon on February 10, 2015 very early in the morning and arrived at Crescent City, California at about 3pm. The ten hour drive down Interstate 5 was like my backyard, but once I turned right at Grants Pass, I saw something I’ve never seen before. The Redwoods National Park is something everyone should see – I mean everyone. These trees were so big that I couldn’t even photograph one in the frame. You seriously need to back up a long ways, but you can’t because there are these monstrously beautiful trees everywhere. Continue reading
Driving into Petaluma at sunset.
After the driving rain came the warm California sun and the promise of expanding Big Year list. The eleven hours of driving down Interstate 5 and then west on the 505 to San Francisco brought me to the KOA kabin in Petaluma. I didn’t have any trouble falling asleep, except for the swans and wigeon dancing in my head.
The first stop was the famed hot spot of Shollenberger Park from 8am till 10am. The walk around the lake and marshes was slow and thorough. I expected to see more people toting around tripods, spotting scopes, backpacks and cameras but instead there were nice joggers, moms with strollers, an occasional man with lifted eyebrows, and solitary quiet walkers enjoying (perhaps) the surroundings as much as I.