Birds of Tomales Bay – Greater Scaup

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Tomales Bay is covered with rafts of ducks lately.

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Venturing north along route 1 one can see numerous groups of diving ducks, huddled, nervous, searching for food.

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If you look closely at the left edge of the image below, you’ll see a pale bird, second from the left with a spray of water kicked up behind it from a bird that just dived under.

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That is a leucitic hen. She lacks pigment in her feathers, hence she is more pale than the rest. Leucism is different than albinism. You can read about that here. And see a wide variety of leucitic animals here.

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Enjoy some more images below. Better yet, head outside and take a gander yourself. There is nothing better than the real thing. As always, click on an image to see a larger version.

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Birders of Tomales Bay – 2016 Christmas Bird Count

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Today was the 47th annual Point Reyes Christmas Bird Count.

Today was the 1st annual Point Reyes Birdcounter Count.

Word at the dinner (unofficial) was 196 species of birds were spotted today.
I saw a few dozen Birdcounters, in a variety of plumage.

Enjoy.

Click on an image to see a larger version.

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Birds of Tomales Bay – White Pelican Style

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Brown Pelicans generally dive from above to find their meal.

The larger White Pelicans generally work as a team, herding their supper.

I could watch either species all day.

Enjoy.

As usual, click on an image to see a larger version.

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Respect Tomales Bay – East shore roadside update

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The last update of this sort from 13 March may be found here.

Almost 3 months has passed with lots of interesting itmes to share.

As always, click on an image to see a larger version.

The capsized boat first reported here is still laying upside-down, leaking who knows what else into the bay.

As of 25 March, still laying there in the bay. Behind the first house south of Hog Island Oysters. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

As of 25 March, still laying there in the bay. Behind the first house south of Hog Island Oysters.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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On the weekend of 9-10 April, Grassy Point pullout was filled to capacity with these cars. When I stopped to clean up the area, I sadly discovered someone had tossed two live ochre starfish into the road. Both were now quite dead. Starfish have been hammered by a virus the past few years all up and down the Pacific Coast and are only recently starting to rebound.

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Grassy Point filled to capacity all weekend. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Grassy Point filled to capacity all weekend.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Dead Pisaster starfish tossed into the road. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Dead Pisaster starfish tossed into the road.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Another dead Pisaster starfish tossed into the road. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Another dead Pisaster starfish tossed into the road.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Yes, that is a "disposable diaper" in the foreground. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Yes, that is a “disposable diaper” in the foreground.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Local opinion ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Local opinion
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Between the almost always open and overflowing dumpsters at Tony’s Seafood

11 April, 2016 Tony's Seafood Garbage bins ©Richard James - coastodian.org

11 April, 2016 Tony’s Seafood Garbage bins
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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11 April, 2016 Tony's Seafood Garbage bins ©Richard James - coastodian.org

11 April, 2016 Tony’s Seafood Garbage bins
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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And the dumpster at Nick’s Cove (AKA Miller Boat Launch) seen here on 31 May , also almost always open and overflowing, there is no end of food to attract ravens and gulls to scatter trash everywhere. I am told by County Parks that residents of Tomales and Marshall have been caught dumping household trash in these bins more than once. Full bins mean fishermen make an even bigger mess on the weekend, some of which is blown back into the bay. Please Respect This Place.

Dumspter at Nick's was so full, after it was emptied, this remained. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Dumspter at Nick’s was so full, after it was emptied, this remained.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Dumspter at Nick's was so full, after it was emptied, this remained. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Dumspter at Nick’s was so full, after it was emptied, this remained.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Sloppy filleting  of a halibut, left to attract coons and ravens.

Sloppy filleting of a halibut, left to attract coons and ravens.

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Here is Nick’s launch dumpster the following weekend

Dumpster at Nick's on Saturday morning 4 June. County man called in to get it picked up to make room, no truck came, more trash dumped on the ground. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Dumpster at Nick’s on Saturday morning 4 June. County man called in to get it picked up to make room, no truck came, more trash dumped on the ground.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Each weekend I pick up the area around the boat launch, sometimes twice. Often I see fishermen unloading all they brought with them which they no longer want, carrying it to the small dumpster. The dumpster that is almost always overflowing, often with countless aluminum beer and soda cans. Last weekend I saw one such man carry at least 25 beer cans over to throw away. “Hi, you know you could take those home and recycle them” I offered. His gait steady, his tired voice replied “I know all about aluminum cans, I work in a can factory”. “Then you know how much electricity is required to make a new can?” Puzzled look. “The more electricity we use, the more CO2 we dump into the atmosphere, the more acidic the ocean becomes, the less fish you have to catch”. Blank stare as he dumps the entire bag of cans onto the over-filled bin, some of them spilling onto the ground as he turns and walks back to his boat. And so it goes…

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Roadside fishermen still have no respect for the Bay they love to visit.

9 June, Roadside fishermen still leaving lots of trash, bait boxes and now boxes of kindling. They are burning treated wood, no wonder their judgement is impaired. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

9 June, Roadside fishermen still leaving lots of trash, bait boxes and now boxes of kindling. They are burning treated wood, no wonder their judgement is impaired.
©Richard James – coastodian.org


How about we ban fires along this stretch? Bob, is that something you could get rolling? From what I have seen, there is a high correlation between those that build fires and those that leave a mess.

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Grassy Point visitors seem determined to out-disgust the roadside fishermen at Tony’s.

31 May, Some visitors burned pallets full of nails on the bank above the bay, leaving hundreds of nails and the remains of their bottles they seem to have tried to BBQ. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

31 May, Some visitors burned pallets full of nails on the bank above the bay, leaving hundreds of nails and the remains of their bottles they seem to have tried to BBQ.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Today (10 June) I stopped by to pick up Grassy Point and found a very large, fresh pile of human excrement deposited on the beach below the wide spot. When I say on the beach, I should say in the bay, as it was well below the high water mark covered with strips of brown cardboard stained a different shade of brown. Whoever left the portable BBQ box along with the rest of their picnic items scattered about seems to have disassembled the box to use as TP.

Worry not, no photos were recorded, but I did scrape it up best I could and pack it out.

Please Respect This Place.

Three images of beauty to remind us why we all need to be mindful of how we treat our planet, as well as sometimes gently remind those around us to do the same.

Dunlin ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Dunlin
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Marbled Godwit ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Marbled Godwit
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Brown Pelican in ground effect. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Brown Pelican in ground effect.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Previous related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Respect our Tomales Bay” here.

See other posts featuring The Birds of Tomales Bay here.

Birds of Tomales Bay – Remembering Nate Knight

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This morning I paddled from Chicken Ranch to Hearts Desire so I could pay respect to a fine person that left us too soon.

The sky was completely obscured by fog as I carried my gear to the waters’ edge at Chicken Ranch.

Calm wind and a following ebb tide ushered me northward to my destination.

With each pull of the paddle, the warmth from above evaporated the mist that cloaked the beauty that is Tomales Bay.

The usual suspects accompanied me on my journey to pay respect and show support for Jill and her adorable children.

Feast your eyes on the pelicans, cormorants, egret and heron I was blessed to observe today.

If you’d care to help out a fine family, follow this link and donate what you can.

As always, click on an image to see a larger version.

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Slip to a landing

Slip to a landing

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cleared for the option

cleared for the option

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Birds of Tomales Bay – Bald eagles build affordable housing in West Marin

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It is not known whether the California Coastal Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Park Service, United States Geological Survey, Fish & Game Commission, County building permit office or any other acronym was consulted prior to this coastal construction.

Though, I don’t think these eagles give a hoot.

Enjoy.

As always, click on an image for a larger version, then click again for even larger.

Female on nest

Female on nest

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Male returning with plush nest floor covering

Male returning with plush nest floor covering

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Female on patrol

Female on patrol

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Female on patrol

Female on patrol

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Female on patrol

Female on patrol

See this pair of eagles copulating here.

Birds of Tomales Bay – The eagle(s) have landed

Click the words above to see this entire post (you won’t be disappointed)

Venturing out on Tomales Bay in a boat is a magical thing.

If one sets out early, before the death-wish motorcyclists race their way up and down route 1, and there are no planes overhead, all I hear are birds, waves and wind. With an occasional bugling elk depending on where I am and what time of year it is.

Recently I witnessed an amazing thing.

From first contact with each other, to separation, twenty seconds elapsed.

Seventy-nine images were recorded during this time period.

Below are ten I selected for your viewing pleasure.

They are a bit soft, for which I apologize. I was hand-holding a 400mm lens, in a boat, on the water. And it unfolded quickly.

Enjoy. I did.

As always, click an image to see a larger version.

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

See more of this pair of eagles here.