Birding the Gardens and Lighthouse

I’m still learning to get around to my birding spots by bus. Checking the schedule I found that I can get in over two hours of birding at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, which is enough, and then move on to the Point Cabrillo Light Station (fancy for lighthouse) & Preserve. I tried it this last Thursday. The MTA dropped me off right in front of the Gardens. The link to the Garden’s website is here. Audubon has bird walks here on the first Saturday and third Wednesday of each month. There are over 150 birds on the Garden’s list. With it’s coastal setting you get a mix of birds and you also get some fantastic views. I’ve had some luck birding here in the past but I find that it getting too much of a “landscaped” look and feel. I try to stay on the fringes. After getting my two hours in I hustled out to the main entrance to be picked up by the MTA heading south.

I decided to get off at Caspar Beach and check out the creek and walk the newly created Caspar Uplands Trail. The Mendocino Land Trust is responsible for many find trails here. Their website lists them all.  The trail starts down near the beach and then proceeds uphill above the north side of the campground. It then skirts the cemetery with it’s Osprey nest, travels south along Highway 1 for a short time, veers west and comes out in a meadow where the trail takes you back to Point Cabrillo Dr. I’ve been successful in finding Hermit Warbler, Western Wood-pewee, and Red Crossbills on the trail during season. This time it was pretty quiet. 

The next part of the walk takes me north to South Caspar Drive And west to Vega Drive Which takes me to the north entrance of the Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park. Check it out here. The light house is still on the job and most of it’s associated buildings like the captain’s house have been restored. The lighthouse has a gift shop and information center inside it. There is also a small marine science building nearby. It’s all done with volunteers. The park is a great place to observe the passing of Gray Whales during their migration. Most of the park is grasslands with some trees and bushes around the edges. Have found Horned Larks (rare) here a few time. Also have found Rock Sandpiper amongst the Surfbirds and Black Turnstones. Instead of hiking up to the parking lot, I have been exiting the park by taking the bluff trail south and then east where the trail takes you to the Highlands Mobile Home Park. Picked up the bus there which took me back to my truck in Mendocino. While I didn’t see anything new I certainly had a pleasant day on the Mendocino coast. 

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