Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Point Reyes - Feb 7, 2014

The rain came with a vengeance overnight and in the early morning.  Due to the California drought, we welcomed the water even though it cut into our plans a bit.  So, we got a little later start than normal and it was still drizzly as we headed to PP Road again.  But, obviously the wildlife decided to stay dry since we struck out on the entire drive.

So next we headed towards the lighthouse and down to Drake's Bay.  We struck out on that drive as well but did see a lone coyote on our way back to Pierce Point Road.  The entire morning would have been a bust if not for the tasty sandwiches we picked up at Whale of a Deli in Point Reyes Station.

After lunch, another drive along Pierce Point Rd turned up nada.  At this rate, the whole day would be a bust.  So, we decided to get some exercise at Abbott's Lagoon.  We walked all the way to the lagoon and back and saw nothing but birds.  Just as we were getting close to the parking lot, movement caught my eye.  There, sitting in the bushes not 20 yards from us was a bobcat.  It looked at us briefly but just sat there as I rattled off frame after frame.  You can tell by this picture how hard they are to spot at anything but close range since they just blend in so well...

Sleepy Bobcat

Eventually, it got up, gave us one last look...

Bobcat Ready to Hunt

and started to stalk something:

The Windup...

The Leap...

Did it get it?!...


Darn! No luck again...

So, it wandered off through the bushes giving us some great last looks:


What a great encounter!  Another bobcat on foot.  We NEVER see wildlife on foot so this was really fantastic.  To top it off, this little guy was hanging out in the pit toilet:

Pacific Tree Frog

Abbott's Lagoon truly delivered today and made up for the slow morning in a big way.

We decided to burn off the adrenaline from that great encounter by hiking the Estero Trail to look for owls.  While we didn't see any owls, we heard 3 different Great-horned Owls calling to each other from the trees.  Their great calls echoed as we walked.  Nature at its finest!   Just as the owl calls died down, a distinctly man-made sound started to thunder in across the valley.  It got louder and louder until it exploded over the nearby hills.  4 military choppers came into view and buzzed the tree tops over our heads and shook the ground beneath our feet.  Talk about the opposite of nature at its finest.  But, the sight and sound was pretty darn impressive.  Towards the end of the hike, the sounds of nature took hold again as we heard several coyotes yipping and howling and managed to see one on the crest of a nearby hill.

After dinner, we took one last night drive and the best encounter occurred before we even left our cottage.  This little guy posed nicely on the lawn as we drove out the driveway:

Gray Fox

We ended up seeing another Pacific Tree Frog on the wet pavement at the visitor center plus a Brush Rabbit that just wouldn't sit still for photos.  But, that was it.  What a great last day.

It ended up starting to rain early the next morning so we decided to leave for home to try to beat the worst of the weather...which we did.

The trip was a rousing success despite the rain.  We could not have asked for better bobcat encounters.

Mammal Sightings:
- Elephant Seals (100s)
- Tule Elk (dozens)
- Black-tailed Deer (dozens)
- Coyote (16)
- Bobcat (6)
- Gray Fox (4)
- Black-tailed Jackrabbit (3)
- Northern Raccoon (3)
- Gray Squirrels (2)
- Brush Rabbits (1)
- Striped Skunk (1)

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