Birding Doran Regional Park

The day after we visited Spring Lake we drove to Bodega Bay and stopped at Doran Regional Park, a very busy beach though we got there early enough to beat the crowds.  

As we walked towards the beach we were greeted by this little guy and his friends.  I could immediately tell they were plovers, but I wasn’t sure what kind.  Judging purely from the size I speculated they were Semi-palmated Plovers, but when none of them had the strong, dark stripe around there neck and I looked at them on the computer I knew they weren’t.  

I was shocked when I finally realized they were Snowy Plovers

an endangered species that nests on the open beach.  

This one

even looked like it could be looking for a nesting site.  No wonder they are endangered if they can’t find a beach with a lot fewer people than Doran Park.  

It’s clear that the birds have had no choice but to learn to coexist with large numbers of people on this part of the coast.  The second species we saw was this beautiful Marbled Godwit.

When I see flocks of these in Westport they stay on the outside of the Marina and will fly away whenever anyone approaches.  This one continued to feed the whole time I watched it

until it caught this impressive (?) worm (?).  

Bodega Head

Bodega Bay is another place we usually try to visit when we visit Santa Rosa.  On this visit Candi and Robert Dahlstet introduced us to a hike that gave us new viewpoints of Bodega Head

on a beautiful sunny day

with more wildflowers

 than I’ve ever seen there before.

It’s hard to imagine it will ever be quite this beautiful again, but I will certainly return to find out.

Marbled Godwits at Bodega Bay

I’ll have to admit that I was really tempted to try to get closer to the Godwits when I saw them near the lagoon, but Leslie and Jeff were across the street ready to start our beach walk, so I thought better of it. As it turns out, I was glad I started the walk instead because about half way down the beach we ran across a small flock of Marbled Godwits feeding on the incoming tide.


Although they retreated as we got closer, I managed to get even closer to them on the was back up the beach.


While they had all been resting on the shore when I first saw them across the road, they were much more active feeding on the beach, which made it easier to get close to without scaring them off.


I was amazed by this shot


where you could actually see whatever it is that they eat. I’ll have to admit that the shot makes me a lot more curious about exactly what it is that they are catching. I certainly never knew there was anything like this right under the sand.

In the end, of course, what really matters is the shots you get, and who doesn’t love beautiful tail feathers?


Birding at Bodega Bay

Although we went to Doran Beach on Bodega Bay to walk the beach and get away from Santa Rosa’s high temperatures, not to bird, the first thing I noted on the wetlands opposite the beach was a beautiful Snowy Egret which had obviously become so accustomed to human visitors that it took no notice of them, even when they were holding a 400mm lens.

Beach or no beach, I couldn’t resist briefly photographing him as he stalked the wetlands.


I was a little surprised that instead of edging away from me that he kept moving closer


and closer.


As often happens while birding, while observing a particular bird other birds will suddenly appear, almost as if the mere act of standing still, becoming part of the environment, reveals everything that has always been there. Suddenly a small flight of terns swooped behind the Egret, which, in turn, startled a flock of Plovers into flight.


Several of the plovers, in turn, landed next to another flock of birds.


Of course, it was only after I zoomed in on the image that I realized that it was a flock of Marbled Godwits, birds I’d sought out on the Washington Coast but had no luck finding. Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be any way to get close enough to them to get a decent shot.