Safely Back at the Coast

It took a while, because of the detour I had to take around the Carr Fire, but I finally made it back to the coast around noon Monday.  The first place I stopped was at a Vista Point (scenic overlook) near the Arcata airport, north of the town of Arcata.



I stayed at the Vista Point for about an hour – watching and listening to the ocean, enjoying the pleasant 57 degree temperature (which was welcome relief after having spent 3 of the last 8 days in Redding, CA with temps over 100), and watching the seals.  If you look closely at the first photo in this post you’ll see the seals down near the water.




They were mostly just napping, but every now and then one would shuffle in to the water and splash around a bit:


Trinidad, California

Monday after I drove back to the coast I stopped in the little town of Trinidad, which is just north of Arcata where I stayed the previous weekend before heading inland.  I was pretty sure the visibility wouldn’t be very good because of the persistent marine layer which was hugging the coast but I at least wanted to get the lay of the land (or in this case the “lay of the bay”).

This was my first look at Trinidad Bay, looking down from near where I had parked my car:


This is from a vantage point slightly left of there.  I didn’t realize it at the time but I was now standing where the Trinidad Lighthouse used to be.  You’ll learn more about that in a future post as I plan to return to Trinidad in the next day or two in, hopefully, clearer weather.  In this photo you can barely see a dock in the distance which you’ll see more of shortly.


I then walked down to where the water is, not directly but by going a few blocks north (right) and descending down to the beach and dock areas.  This was looking right, towards the beach.  The rock formation you see of the left is “Trinidad Head”, a large peninsula which sticks out into the bay:


And this was looking left, towards the harbor:


A closer look from beach level of the beach itself:


And a little to the right of that a group of lifeguards was giving a safety training class to interested citizens:


I then walked over towards the harbor and dock, and to a long metal fishing pier which lead out to the wooden dock at water level you could (barely) see in the second photo of this post:


And while at the boat launch area I learned that they have a rather interesting boat lift which uses a pulley to bring the boat up away from the water to load onto the trailer.  You can see the lift being returned to water level via the pulley on the right side of the photo:


I’ll document that process more thoroughly in a future post.

Battery Point Light

Not Lighthouse, just Light.  This is located in Crescent City, California which is only a few miles from the Oregon state line.  I arrived in town Monday afternoon and will be staying here for three nights before proceeding further north.

Battery Point Light was built in 1856 and was one of the first lighthouses on the west coast.  This is a photo I took from near the Coast Guard Station which is on a peninsula some distance away:


That photo was taken late-afternoon when I was arriving in the area.  As you can probably tell, the persistent marine layer was still present right at the coast whereas just a mile or so inland it was sunny and clear.

Around 6 pm I drove out to where the lighthouse itself is, just south of downtown Crescent City.  The lighthouse sits on an islet, basically a tiny island just offshore but close enough so that at low tide one may walk out to it via a connecting isthmus.

This is from “high ground” where I parked the car.


This was after walking down the ramp to get to beach level, then walking progressively closer to the islet.




You may be able to tell that the tide was coming in and there was just enough water that Mr. Smiley-pants “It’s too cold to get my feet wet” JohnBoy didn’t venture out on to the islet to see the lighthouse up close.  I will be in the area a few days and will have other photos in a future post.


Focus on the Ibis at Tule Lake Wildlife Refuge

I saw lots of these on both Saturday and Sunday out at the Refuge.  At first I thought they were just black birds with long legs and a very long curved beak, but once I managed to get close to a few of them, and in varying sunlight, I discovered they are actually very colorful in their own way:











And I was FINALLY able to capture a decent photograph of several of them in flight!  Patience, 007, patience….


More Birds at Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Sunday I spent about 6 hours out at the Wildlife Refuge which is just north of the Lava Beds National Monument in Northeastern California.  I had pretty good luck the day before getting some pictures of various birds and thought I’d try again.  I was able to capture quite a few different ones than I had seen previously.

I had intended to post these last night but with the excitement of the wildfire which developed while I was in Redding Monday afternoon and evening I kind of got distracted.

These are Black Necked Stilts.  They are not very big but have very long legs which stick out behind them when they fly so they almost look like small herons.  I saw lots of these both days I was out at the Refuge.



This is a White Crane, different from the White Heron I posted pictures of on Saturday.




And I always thought the American White Pelicans are pretty much all white but the ends of their wings are actually black, as seen in these two photos:



I am particularly excited that I got these pictures.  This is an American Avocet.  I only saw two of them (and I don’t mean the reflection).




These are American Coots.  I only saw these two, swimming away from me.


Saturday I saw Western Grebe’s (with the red eyes).  I saw lots more of them on Sunday but also saw some of these, which are Eared Grebes (again, with red eyes).


I believe this was a baby Eared Grebe, which seemed to be hanging out with a male and a female (probably the proud parents).


I saw several groups of Male/Female/Baby Eared Grebes in one particular area of the Refuge.  Sometimes the babies were riding on Momma’s back (there are actually two riders in each of these next two photos):



These are Yellow Headed Blackbirds:



And with the help of my Airbnb hostess in Klamath Falls I have learned that this is a Black-Crowned Night-Heron.  She thinks I am very lucky to have seen this because they are not very plentiful.




She also told me this is a Kildeer, which was quite vocal:





This was a huge flock of American White Pelicans floating on the water way out in one of the big lakes at the Refuge.  This is how they often feed – they’d float in a big group or circle and flap their wings in the water which attracts fish, which they then scoop up with their bills.  I watched with my binoculars and could see lots of water being splashed up in the air.


Finally, I believe this is a Great Blue Heron which I was able to catch in flight as it flew away from the shore where it had been standing.  The photo I have of it standing on the shore isn’t very good as it was taken through the windshield of my car (it had already flown further away from me once as I approached in the car).


Another bird I saw on Sunday was an Ibis (and I saw lots of them).  I took lots of pictures, including closeups of their feathers, heads and eyes and will post them separately.