Just north of Fort Bragg is a small beach bordered on the south by Virgin Creek and on the north by rocky bluffs. It is part of MacKerricher State Park It can be one of the best places to look for shorebirds on the Mendocino Coast.
For the last several years, Virgin Creek has been my territory to survey shorebirds for, “Save Our Shorebirds(SOS)”. Their website can be found here The site explains who they are so I’ll skip that here. The links on the site provides lot’s of information on shorebirds for your viewing pleasure.
Friday’s are my day to survey. When I first started surveying I would drive my truck up to Fort Bragg from Little River. That would be a 33 mile round trip. Last year after finishing my second scary book on the effects of climate change (The Great Disruption by Paul Gilding) and reading an article in the July 2012 issue of, “Birding” called “The Green Big Day: Less Driving, More Birding”, I decided to see if I could change the way I did the surveys. After all, sea level rise is one of the effects of a warming planet and that would not be good for shorebirds. I found that by taking the Mendocino Transit Authority (MTA) and using my bike I could shorten the distance that I drove by 23 miles. The usual trip would be to drive to the bus stop in Mendocino with my bike, put the bike on the bike rack and take the bus into Fort Bragg, transferr at the Boatyard to another bus and take it to the end of the line behind Denny’s, and then bike to Virgin Creek using the Haul Road. I have time after my survey to bike to Lake Cleone, Laguna Point, Ward Ave., Glass Beach, or even the winter hot spot, Rose Memorial Park.
For the last two surveys my truck has been in the shop waiting for a part. In order to do my surveys I needed to bike from my home down to the Little River Store and pick-up the bus there. The ride down Little River Airport Road was easy, it was all downhill. The ride uphill is a killer. Most of the time I was walking. The road is narrow and people don’t slow down. As soon as my truck is ready I’ll be going back to the old routine. The Little River Store bus stop did provide me with my best bus stop bird, a Peregrine Falcon on the large rock island behind the store. That same trip produce a Glaucous Gull in the gull flock at the Laguna Point Parking lot.