Tuffed Puffins Easy!
Yesterday, (Sunday 5-28) I went to Mendocino to find the Tuffed
Puffins. These two beautiful breading plumage birds did disappoint as
they swam and dove in the blue water, easily visible from land less
than 100 yards out. According to the local birder I met, a TUFU pair
have taken up residence in most past summers. So it quite possible
that these birds are a pair and may nest, providing reliable viewing
opportunity for a few months. So I am providing some details for
birders who may want to drive some distance to see them.
It took me 2.5 hours to drive up US101 CA128 CA1 to Mindocino from
San Rafael, allow about 3 hours form SF or Oakland.
Once on Hwy 1, pass the town of Little River and cross Big River
bridge entering the town of Mendocino. Pass the traffic light and
continue north on Hwy 1 to Lansing St. Turn left and go take a right
on Heeser Street, Go past the rest rooms (on the right) to the fist
parking. (after about a half mile, down Heeser). Take the short trail
out to the cliff. There is a little cove between the peninsula on the
east and the first large island on the west (you don't have to walk to
the end of the trail). The puffins were seen swimming around and
across that cove Visible with binoculars but great views in a 20
power scope. At first we spend a lot of time looking too far out, but
did find a first year Rhinoceros Auklet among the Common Murres.
The birds were feeding actively up and down together. With their
clown-like faces, flinging their heads and cream colored tuffs from
side-to-side, huge orange beaks and bright orange legs and feet, all
on a jet black puffy bodies, they looked like a costumed bird pair for
a major Halloween masquerade party. And the best part was no pelagic
trip cost and nausea or scope-less heaving views.
Thanks to Karen Havlena for the directions to the exact location and
Floyd (?) from Clear Lake who first spotted the puffins which was my
life list view.
Go for it!
San Rafael CA