Birds of a feather

Just a few miles south of our park is Arcata Marsh, an interesting collection of large fresh water and salt water marshes/ponds/lakes located in the Pacific Flyway.

The technical name of the place is Arcata Wastewater Treatment Plant and Wildlife Sanctuary.

Ummmm, those “fresh water” ponds/lakes are actually waste treatment areas….but that’s a story for another day.

The fresh water areas are constant in their water levels, but the salt water areas are completely transformed by the tides four times a day…from a very large bay to mud tidal flats and grassy fields.

Fresh and salt water attract different groups of waterfowl, and high tide tends to attract different birds than low tide.

We spent low tide the other day with some Willets and Marbled Godwits…at least that’s what I think they were.

DSC_6447_aDSC_6534_aAlthough they frequently forage one by one, we’ve noticed these two types of birds usually hang in quite large groups….and then they do the hey-everybody-turn-and-look or the skittish let’s-all-fly-at-once.

DSC_6488_aDSC_6489_aIt’s quite the jumble as the whole flock tries to land. I was amazed at the complexity of their wings…look at the various layers and shapes across their necks and backs as they land!


I am a rock…I am an island

Trinidad Bay offers so much. One prominent feature is Pewetole Island, covered with Sitka Spruce.

DSC_6655_aA colorful little island that jumps straight out of the water, its steep rock walls offer no encouragement for exploration. Even at low tide, when rocks in the bay offer steppingstones to its edge, there’s no reason to try!

DSC_6697_aIt takes much of the pounding of the ocean waves for a good stretch of the shoreline, and that produces numerous rock formations between it and the shore.

DSC_6771_aMostly, it provides color and some perspective for your view out to sea….