Growing by the Bay

Category: point reyes

Tule Elk at Point Reyes

tule elk near point reyes lighthouse

These handsome bucks were part of a herd I spotted near the Point Reyes Lighthouse. Tule elk — found only in California — were once common in Point Reyes, but within a decade of the Gold Rush they had been hunted nearly to extinction. In 1873, the state made them a protected species. About a century later, in 1978, a handful of elk were reintroduced from the San Luis Island Wildlife Refuge near Los Banos. By 2000 there were hundreds of elk in the park (the Point Reyes National Seashore).


Tule Elk – Return of a Species (366 KB PDF file)
Park Service Tule Elk page

Drake’s Beach

drake's beach

Drake’s Beach, near the north end of the Point Reyes peninsula, is named for Francis Drake, who may have landed somewhere nearby in 1579. While there is no consensus about the landing point, many believe that Drake’s Estero, an estuary that feeds the bay, may be the most likely spot.

Compared to Limantour Beach to the south, Drake’s Beach is is chill and blustery. It’s not especially good for lounging, beachcombing, or tide pooling, but it is a beautiful beach, which provides access to the estero.

drake's estero

Near the estero, the cliffs and sands give way to dunes and beach grasses.

beach grasses near drake's estero

By the mouth of the estero birds congregate.

birds at the mouth of drake's estero

Returning to the parking area in the late afternoon, sunlight glints off the sand.

late afternoon sunlight off the sand at drake's beach

These photos are from my Drake’s Beach flickr set, where higher resolution versions and more views can be seen.

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