Quercus's blog

Progress on the Bird Island Trail Makeover

Point Lobos Foundation members were treated on September 10th to quite an evening at the Reserve. A delicious catered picnic at the Bird Island picnic area. Live music. Raffle prizes. Very good company. The scene was graced by a lovely sunset, with its subtle afterglow on the gentle swells of the Pacific. And, to crown it all, the majestic full moon, rising over the Santa Lucias.
And we went on a guided walk on the Bird Island Trail.

John Hiles, State Parks trail crew foreman, showed us the work done so far. The viewing platform near the nesting area is simply superb, and will instantly become a prime Reserve destination once the trail is finished. The accessibility makeover project is now about half-done. Work should be completed in February. Those nesting gulls and cormorants and black-crowned night herons are going to get a lot of admiring attention in 2012, including that from folks whose limited mobility will make this their first close view of Bird Island.
Kudos to John Hiles and his crew, and to the State and the PLF for making this happen.

January Day

It was sunny and clear and already getting warm at 8:30, and the ocean off Sea Lion Point was calm. Perfect whale-watching conditions. The pods of grays worked their way down the coast, periodically surfacing to do their group breathing, eventually sliding into their dives, flukes slicing the surface. Above Sand Hill Cove a juvenile red-shouldered hawk stood on the trailside fence, and after glaring at the intruder for a moment, scornfully headed off to the top of a cypress tree. A sudden burst of chatter from the scrub ended with a brief view of a Bewick's wren on top of a clump of sage. Out on the verge of the road, a towhee worked the leaf litter in his both-feet-scrabbling-at-once style. A companionable California thrasher labored nearby, his tool-of-choice his large curved bill. And over the parking lot, warmed by the winter sun, brilliant monarchs zigged and zagged.

Birds, Birds, Birds

A late December walk at Point Lobos left us with some bright images to take home in our mind's eye. While gazing at China Cove we noticed something soaring over, and when we got the binocs on it, found it was a peregrine falcon. We just had time to admire its distinctive markings and its powerful flight before it headed off north and out of sight. Then, on the South Plateau Trail, a sharp call swivelled our heads around, and there it was, on a Monterey pine: a hairy woodpecker, hammering a promising branch with its large bill. And later, on the Pine Ridge Trail, in the quiet of a still winter afternoon, we spied a...