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Point Reyes National Seashore
A windswept peninsula on the California coast just north of San Francisco, Point Reyes is one of the best migrant traps in the western United States. Protected as a National Seashore, the beaches and craggy shorelines are in relatively pristine condition. Some are inaccessible except by boat, which makes them excellent habitat for a variety of nesting pelagics.
 Notable Species
Point Reyes is one of the most reliable sites in California for stray warblers, vireos, and thrushes from the forests of eastern North America: Tennessee, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Black-throated Blue, Palm, Blackpoll, and Black and White Warblers are annual.
A full, linked bird list (.pdf format) to the 490 species present (seasonally dependent) can be found here.
 Other Wildlife
 Site Information
 History and Use
 Areas of Interest
Abbott's Lagoon is accessible from the parking lot on the left side of Pierce Point Road, a few miles north of the intersection with Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. (Look for the single large tree shading the parking lot.) The trail runs from the parking lot trailhead to the beach beyond the lagoon. Typical species found in the coastal scrub here are White-crowned Sparrow, American Goldfinch, California Quail, Say's Phoebe, American Pipit, and Northern Harrier. The section of trail immediately beyond the parking lot is one of the most reliable places in northern California to find Palm Warblers. Patient observation may be rewarded with a Virginia Rail lurking in any of the patches of freshwater marsh along the trail. The lagoon itself often holds American White Pelican, many species of ducks, herons, and egrets, and a variety of shorebirds, notably including the August passage of Red-necked Phalaropes. The sandy beach beyond the lagoon at the ocean end of the trail is fenced off in summer to protect nesting Snowy Plovers.
Five Brooks trailhead is located on California Highway 1 about four miles south of Olema. The principal trail here is a loop around a small pond that serves as a junction for several trails leading deeper into the woods of the Inverness Ridge. The pond is a regular site for nesting Wood Ducks as well as Common Gallinules. The trees around the pond are home to typical species of coniferous forest, including Winter Wren, Steller's Jay, and Pacific-slope Flycatcher.
At the end of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard is the Lighthouse perched on a narrow fin of rock, and accessible only by foot. The parking lot (often full on weekends and during the winter whale-watching season) is about 1/4 mile hike from the upper visitors' area, where there is a small cluster of historical buildings with displays. Some 300 feet below, the lighthouse can only be reached via a steep flight of hundreds of stairs.
This spot is the windiest and the second foggiest on the California coast, with typical temperatures 20 degrees (F) lower than the main population centers inland. Birding can be difficult or unpleasant because of weather conditions. However, on a good day, expect to see Brandt's and Pelagic Cormorants, scoters (mostly Surf), and most of the Pacific sea ducks riding the waves below, raptors such as Red-tailed Hawk, and migrant songbirds along the hike to the station, all within their respective seasons. Seals are typically hauled out on the rocks at the base of the cliffs, but note that all these are at considerable distance; you are still 300' above sea level at the lighthouse, and further descent is impossible. Also visible from the observation platforms is a large nesting colony of Common Murres.
Just before the lighthouse a narrow road turning off Sir Francis Drake Boulevard leads to the parking lot for Chimney Rock. The trail overlooking the headlands here offers easier observation of rocky shoreline species such as Black Oystercatcher, Black Turnstone, and Surfbird, as well as alcids such as Rhinoceros Auklet. The sheltered bay to the north of the rock will often contain loons, grebes, and Surf Scoters as well as Elephant Seals. The trees surrounding the "Fish Docks" on the north side of the point are an excellent location for vagrant passerines between August and October. In other seasons almost every passerine found here will be one of the abundant nesting Savannah Sparrows.
Other places of interest:
Drake's Beach, Mendoza and Nunes Ranches.
 Access and Facilities
 Contact Details
National Park Service.
 External Links