201–291 Pacific Way, Muir Beach US-CA 37.86112, -122.57548
The site we visited was more on the edge of a populated area, so there wasn’t a whole forest of trees. We saw a variety of environments, the most prevalent of which were a sort of open chaparral mixed with marshland and some trees scattered throughout. The key bird species I saw here were the American crows, Anna’s hummingbird, and some red-winged blackbirds. We also stopped by a horse trough and saw some horses (it was my first time). We traveled toward the coastline and arrived at a beach. There the key species were the Norther harrier, Brandt’s Cormorant, and the Western gull.
The Northern Harrier was a really cool sighting. What made it even more interesting is that it actually fought with a Red-tailed hawk in the air and we got to witness it. It was really cool, and made the trip all the more exciting. We really got to observe the different way the Harrier took flight, but at the same time we never got close enough to actually observe its appearance. It never perched anywhere for us to get a good look at its body. We observed it flying above us right around the hillside, about 100 feet in the air. The Northern Harrier is a medium-sized hawk that has thin, wide wings and a fairly long tail. They are generally foragers that hunt over low fields. They also have distinct white patches on their rump area with light brown plumage making up most of the body. They generally like to feed on rodents.
We left around 8:15am and arrived at the site at about 8:56am. This trip started off a little differently as we actually got to go birding with one of Professor Paul’s neighbors, who was actually a fairly experienced birder himself. He brought his own scope that let us get even more close up views of the animals. It was also cool to see the professor discuss the birds with his neighbor as it allowed us to get different perspectives and even more accurate sightings. I really enjoyed how we were able to stop by the beach and take in the view for a bit. It was a very sunny day and so the coastline looked amazing. It was just a refreshing time and a great day birding.