Saturday, August 15, 2020

False Klamath Cove

False Klamath Cove is a .6 mile stretch of dark gray sand mostly in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park but with the southern tip in Redwoods National Park, just north of Klamath, California. It is the only area in the Redwoods National and State Parks where Hwy 101 runs directly along the coast, which is why we were compelled to stop. It is gorgeous. We got out and walked along the beach toward the south, watching the gulls on the beach, then into the rocks where we saw crabs, anemone and rocks just off the coast covered in cormorants. There is also a much larger rock, a little further out, covered in white dung and common murre. This area is identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA). An IBA is determined by an internationally agreed-upon criteria as being important for bird populations. In the U.S., those areas are administered by the Audubon Society. The False Klamath IBA  contains 8 seabird species and an estimated 44,925 birds, including double crested cormorants (31), tufted puffins (4), common murre (43,898), Brandt's cormorant (713), western gull (92), pelagic cormorant (115) and pigeon guillemot (72).  The majority of the birds are common murre with over 5,000 breeding pairs. Of course, I didn't know any of this at the time or I would have spent much more time scanning the off-shore rocks. As it was, my 500 mm lense is not functioning right now and I was stuck with my much less powerful 300 mm lense. The photo below shows the cove from the south, looking north.

To the east, into the Pacific, are rocks full of birds. The large one, in particular, is the breading rock for the common murre. 

This rock has double crested cormorants.

An even larger rock has more cormorants and of course the common murre behind it. 

A closer look at the double crested cormorants. 

And I am able to find one Brandt's cormorant. 

The common murre in the next photo are extremely small and blurry, but there are thousands of them on the large rock. 

Our son, Sam, found a hermit crab in the rocks which quickly shed it's shell.

There were lots of ochre sea stars.

And Sam also found a red rock crab. 

There were several common ravens among the rocks. 

And Judy found a sunburst anemone.

I found several kinds of gulls along the beach. One of my favorites is the Heermann's gull which has a dark red bill with a black tip. I only saw a couple of them. 

The prevalent gull is the California gull. Breeding adults have a red spot on the lower bill. The juveniles are mottled brown and white. Second year birds start to get gray on the back and a bluish tint on the upper legs. California gulls later in the first year are checkered in tan and white and darker brown on the lower part of the folded wing. It is amazing that such disparate looking birds are all the same species. 

Finally, in the sand near where we parked our car was a pretty flowering plant known as sea rocket.

I'm glad we stumbled upon this beautiful cove and wish I'd known more about it when we were there. I would love to go back with a better long lense and get photos of birds on the large rock.

1 comment:

  1. This was a serendipitous find, a real treasure that broke up our forest walks with some wide open space and fresh sea breezes. I loved walking along the shore and wish he had been able to spend more time there. I totally missed all those birds on the rocks. Next time some binoculars might be helpful.