Nature Explorations: Hawk Hill, Rodeo Lagoon, and Marine Mammal Center

Wednesday, 10/7/09, took us to the Marin Headlands. The fog drifted in and covered the bridge.

We started out at Hawk Hill, and ran into several birding folks we knew. Two Common Ravens, Northern Flicker, Bewick’s Wren, Bushtits, Cooper’s Hawks, juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk, and Western Wood-pewee were among the birds that made an appearance.

View from Hawk Hill

View from Hawk Hill

Hiking down and around the trees, we walked through one of the tunnels. There was artwork on the walls, reminiscent of cave drawings.

Tunnel

Tunnel

Once back at the cars on Conzelman Road, we headed down the one-way road to Rodeo Lagoon. We walked the loop around the lagoon. Lizardtail was abundant but no longer in bloom. A merganser preened, while Mallards, American Wigeon and other ducks dabbled and swam in the water.

Along the trail were some spider webs. I checked out three support threads, and then noticed a good-sized Shamrock Orbweaver in the middle of her web, wrapping what looked like a yellowjacket. We watched as she cut some of the threads to release the wasp, and made her way to her retreat, pulling the prey closer. Once in the retreat, she reeled in the wasp. There was a small yellow crab spider in a leaf retreat next to hers.

We had lunch on the beach, then proceeded through the beach plants (Beach Primrose, Alkali Heath, Heliotrope and others) to the road. Some of us made our way up to the Marine Mammal Center, while others headed to the visitors’ center and the cars.

The MMC building was relatively new. Sea lion sculptures adorned the outside area. In the lobby, there is a cast of a past sea lion patient, which when touched in specific places, brought up video on the computer screen. After that, we were sucked into the gift shop. A large plush octopus was a highlight.

Most areas have viewing stations. Upstairs gives a view of the pinniped pens.

Pinniped pen

Pinniped pen

There are also viewing windows for the Post-mortem Lab (“Viewer Discretion Advised”), the kitchen (including a back view of the “Herring-O-Matic”), and other areas.

After exploring and watching the sea lions at feeding time, we returned to the Marin Headlands Visitor Center, and home.

See more photos here.

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One Response to “Nature Explorations: Hawk Hill, Rodeo Lagoon, and Marine Mammal Center”

  1. Carol Litle Says:

    Thanks Debbi. You do a great job and I will be looking forward to more.


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