I was quite fortunate to be able to spend time with two local biologists/bird/wildlife guides when I was in the San Francisco Bay area. It was, as you’d expect, an incredible experience. Not only were there 50+ new species of birds (and several new mammals) that crossed my path (and, my camera lens!), but also just absolutely stunning beauty of the habitats we visited.
All of the areas I explored were in the North Bay region – Marin and Sonoma counties, (google map it!). These locations are world-renowned for their abundance and variety of bird species, which, as it goes with many areas of the world, change thru-out the year. For December this meant the “non-breeding” winter birds, who typically go north (at times WAY north) in the spring/summer to breed and raise their young.
That said, I’m going to break my posts down into four or five posts, otherwise, I’ll have about 2,583 bird pics here. 🙂
First stop: Las Gallinas Wildlife Ponds in San Rafael
Ok – I won’t lie. Las Gallinas Ponds are holding ponds for water in the lifecycle of wastewater treatment. I know, I know – sounds like the LAST place to see a gorgeous setting and wildlife. But, this really is the later phases of the water treatment process. No smells, just huge ponds/marshes that look like a storybook of outdoorsiness. And, BIRDS 🙂 Several are photos of the same bird, but given that it can be incredibly difficult to get a good shot of many of these birds, well I’m posting them all. In this instance, the male Northern Harrier gave me an opportunity for some crisp shots. He’s a stunning raptor, nicknamed “grey ghost” for obvious reasons!