Sunday, January 19, 2014

San Mateo County Coast

California Trip: October 2013

Pescadero State Beach

The beautiful coastline in San Mateo County was a favorite destination when I lived in the Bay Area. It is diverse - towering cliffs that fall directly into the sea; large, flat bluff tops that are thriving agricultural fields; sandy beaches with surfers and volleyball nets; tidal pools alive with wondrous critters; elephant seal rookeries; lonely lighthouses; marshes full of exotic birds; and rocky shores where waves from far across the Pacific come to crash and die.

From my recent trip I only have photos from a small sample of these wonderful areas. Most of these are from a mid-morning I spent at Pescadero State Beach. My photos from the tide pools of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve will have their own blog posting.

Rocky shores at Pescadero State Beach.
Note the birds wheeling above the surf - you may want to click the photo to get a larger version.

Heermann's Gull with its bright red & black bill waiting for a snack to wash up in the surf.

Brandt's Cormorants on a large rock off the beach.

Looking north along the coast. San Francisco is on the far side of the mountains in the distance.

This Sea Anenome is anchored to the rocks under a thin layer of sand. It employs bits of shell and pebbles stuck to its skin as additional protection. It feeds underwater, but folds in upon itself when the tide is out. I will present several photos of anemones open in all their glory in my Fitzgerald Marine Reserve photos - come back for those.

Double-crested Cormorants sun themselves away from the sea breeze.

This state park is a popular place even in the middle of the week.

The following four photos are from a sequence I shot of a Western Gull who had a large crab designated as his lunch. The two fought for nearly 20 minutes, but the crab's hard shell and powerful pinchers ultimately proved to be insufficient against the gull's agility and deadly bill. Before he could enjoy lunch in peace, the gull had to also fight off one of his own kind for sole possession of the prize.

Western Gull with the crab on its back.

"It's my crab!" - "No, it's my crab" - "No it isn't! I found it, I'll keep it!"

When a verbal warning wasn't enough, a quick nip drove off the would be usurper.

The crab's struggle to survive is about over.

Hanging around, close to my picnic table, was a handsome Brewer's Blackbird...

… and his attentive mate.

On the other side of the highway is Pescadero Marsh, at the mouth of Pescadero Creek.
The marsh is home to many birds and critters, and a resting & feeding place for migratory birds, too.

A few miles south of Pescadero is the Pigeon Point Lighthouse.
There is also a youth hostel on its grounds, though it cannot be seen in this photo.

The original lighthouse's lens.

I had to include one more photo of Barbara's Fishtrap restaurant (see original post.)
In this photo you can see how it is situated above the beach next to the marina.

Just after sunset, Pillar Point is silhouetted against the sky. This photo was taken from the jetty you can see in the above photo. The domes & dishes of the Air Force Station stand out above the point.
Venus is visible in the upper left - you may want to click the photo to get a larger version.

Thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoyed the photos.

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