Birds of Tomales Bay

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The bay was flat and the wind was light. A great day to paddle around and see what is going on.

Black-crowned night heron

Most of the birds spook rather easily, even when I am hundreds of feet from them. So I am learning to keep far away from the large groups of what I think are a mix of sea-ducks, else they lift with a great roar and move to a new location.

Black-crowned night heron

A group of grebes took flight, though one remained, committed to finding food. So I tagged along for over an hour watching and making pictures and video. At first I kept back 30-40 feet and kept my paddle noise to a minimum. Over time that distance shrank and shrank. Eventually the tiny bird would paddle right up to my boat, nibbling at my paddle and the boat to see if it was edible. It was fearless as it swam along. Eventually I had to leave this adorable bird and head over across the bay. It would have been easy to spend the rest of the day watching this tiny bird paddle around and dive for food.

Horned grebe

Horned grebe

Horned grebe….well, it was there a moment ago.

A few boats were out and about, as well as many small to medium sized planes. One large, vintage military twin-radial completely dominated the landscape and shut down any idea of gathering video footage. The cold, dense, calm winter air makes for great flying if you are inside the plane. For anyone outside the plane near, or far, not so great.

Brown pelicans in flight

I came upon a large water-logged log, perhaps eighteen feet long, bobbing in the water smack dab in the middle of the bay. Surely not a good thing to hit with a small Boston Whaler at 30 MPH. Having never towed anything with my kayak yet, I tied a rope to it and tried to pull it out of the shipping lanes. I may as well have tied my boat to a living tree, firmly rooted in the ground. After 2-3 minutes of pulling hard and going essentially nowhere, I untied my rope and wished the log, and all boats venturing near it a good day.

Here is a one minute video of some of the bouncy footage I recorded from my boat.

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