Friday, June 26, 2009

cormorant, heron, egret ~ 06/26/09 ~ Heron Rookery Natural Preserve

I would imagine this is a North American birder's paradise. How could you not pass up the opportunity to see so many fantastic birds nesting? Other signs also indicated the snowy egret nested here, too. This rookery is within a 5 minute walk to the Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History. I am incredibly sad all these state parks are closing!!! Our friendly museum volunteer is in charge of some big birding shindig where people from around the world gather to observe the incredible bird diversity in Morro Bay. I signed up for her e-mail notice and will post here once I find out specifics for the event. She said they're having some difficulty figuring out alternatives to state park sites for their field trips.

double-crested cormorant
Phalacrocorax auritus

I find it fascinating these cormorants nest in trees versus the rocks of our Monterey area Brandt's cormorants. How do web feet cling onto tree branches?

great blue heron
Ardea herodias

Behind a church here in Monterey, there's a 3-year old nesting site for great blue herons. Whenever I visit my friend, I look out my sun roof to see if I can spot one of them in the nests. The nesting site is easy to spot because now most of the trees around the nests are dead.

great egret
Ardea alba

More often than not, signs do a much better job than I ever could at explaining things. Click on the photo above and you'll get a larger image for reading.

habitat ~ 06/26/09 ~ Montaña de Oro State Park & Pont Buchon Trail

Montaña de Oro State Park & Point Buchon Trail
June 26, 2009

This is technically not part of the state park system, but access is dependent upon entry through Montaña de Oro. We spoke with a docent at the Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History who told us that they're already devising plans to place a big fence across the entrance to Montaña if the state park funding really does get cut. She was looking at other volunteer opportunities with the expectation that the museum would close and wasn't sure if she'd come back if the funding got reinstated. It's a sad situation all around.

This pic was taken from the environmental camp #4 in Montaña de Oro towards the PG&E Diablo Canyon Power Plant lands. You have to leave your car and hike a little bit up a hill to reach the campsite area. There's a picnic table and pit toilet up there. No fires are allowed at the environmental camps. We guessed it would be fairly windy most of the time. All the campsites were booked over the weekend, but we thought we'd check them out for future reference.

Coon Creek Beach is the first cove on the right center of the pic before this one. There are regular docent led walks to explore the caves. The Point Buchon Trail also goes past Disney/Fat Point where parts of Pete's Dragon were filmed in the late 70's.

For all the coastal scrub found in Montaña de Oro and Point Buchon, there are amazingly lush green areas along the rivers (shown above), hills (oaks), and entrance (eucalyptus, shown below).

Nuttall's milkvetch ~ 06/26/09 ~ Montaña De Oro

Nuttall's milkvetch
Astragakus nuttallii var. nuttallii
CNPS 8th Edition Inventory

These are also found along our local Mission Beach's "bunny trail." They're great fun to pop, but I don't know much about them.

ps 03/11/10 - I originally had this labeled as an unknown bladderpod due to the obvious inflated seedpods. Doh! Should have actually looked at the leaves. I'm basing the species ID on the 23-43 silvery-haired leaflets as stated in Peterson's Pacific States Wildflowers.