After the Estero Tryst

After watching the River Otters mating, I pedaled off westward bound along the Sir Francis Drake Highway toward the Point Reyes Lighthouse. It’s a windswept landscape of dunes and pasture land, as green as Ireland this spring.

Power and telephone lines run along the highway and make perches for birds who have to make do with very few trees and bushes. At regular intervals, about every 500 meters, hawks sat atop the poles. They were not used to having humans take enough interest in them to photograph them. Several flew off when I stopped to have a look at them. This guy flew off soon after posing for the camera. Not sure what kind of hawk he is. Perhaps a Cooper’s Hawk?Cooper Hawk? 4:5:16

Most of this land supports dairy operations permitted by the seashore in what otherwise might be a wildlife refuge. The Parks service wish to retain some of the uses to which these lands once were put. But not all of it is. One field had a herd of Roosevelt Elk.

Elk 4:5:16

Three of a group of about 20 elk

Ravens and Turkey Vultures are two of more than 400 bird species that visit the park. Both Ravens and Turkey Vultures are thought of as scavengers. But Ravens are actually omnivorous. Given an easy kill, a Raven will kill prey for a meal.

Raven Trio 4:5:16

These three were enjoying a sunny pasture

Out at chimney Rock eight Turkey Vultures were slope soaring in a swirling wind above the Elephant Seal Colony on the sand below. Their skill in flying is delightful to watch.

TV at DE 4:5:16

The view of Drakes Bay was breathtaking.

Drake's Bay, Point Reyes National Seashore

A short walk down a path led to an overlook of an Elephant Seal Colony resting out of the wind in the sun on a white sandy beach protected by the Point Reyes Headlands.

Elephant Seals, Chimney Rock 4:5:16

Elephant Seal Colony, Chimney Rock, PRNSS, 4/5/16

The ride back to the car parked at the Estero Trailhead lay ahead of me, so I mounted my trusty yellow bike and began the journey home.

trimmed bike photo

2 thoughts on “After the Estero Tryst

  1. Great photos and information Dan! A birder friend would like to see the end of raven’s because they raid shorebird nests. Nature has it’s brutal side . . .

    After your post on the otters I did some research and it seems they’re rather brutal in their sexual encounters even to the degree of death ~ copulating with harbor seal pups until they’re dead! Who knew such adorable little creatures were so . . . twisted!

  2. Yes, I was almost horrified by the endurance and insistence of the male. He was after the female for more than a half hour. I was not there at the start of this encounter and, though I tried to stick around until the end of it, after 30 minutes it was just too much. It was quite a contrast to the osprey mating I saw last week. That lasted a couple of seconds at the most.

    The link you provided is for sea otters, not river otters the species that I was observing. I guess strong sexual drive is found throughout the otter family.

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