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NW county - Usal

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  • Robert J. Keiffer
    31 May 2007 - Thursday - I visited Usal Beach campground after completing the Branscomb Road Breeding Bird Survey. The coast was cold, damp, and fogged in.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2007
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      31 May 2007 - Thursday - I visited Usal Beach campground after
      completing the Branscomb Road Breeding Bird Survey. The coast was
      cold, damp, and fogged in. Purple Martins are nesting again in a
      couple of old snags above the Branscomb Road at about the 1.0 mm (one
      mile from Hwy 1). The road to Usal was rough as usual but easily
      passable. Off Usal Beach campground was a large pod of Harbor
      Porpoise (constant rolling on the surface)...probably working schools
      of surf fish. 140+ Aechmophorus sp. grebes (Western & probably
      some Clark's) were also clumped off the beach area ....I saw a large
      flock there last year at this time also. I was not in the mood to
      eat lunch in the fog so I decided to try driving the Usal Road which
      leads north. I was able to drive all the way to the Shelter Cove
      Road (Usal Road is 27 miles of 1st and 2nd gear dirt road from Hwy 1)
      and never saw another vehicle ...only one tired mountain biker. It
      helps to have high vehicle ground clearance on this road, and I used
      4WD once in a while, but a sturdy 2WD vehicle with good ground
      clearance should be able to make it. I would NOT recommend this
      road, even to 4WD, in the winter ...as there are some deep muddy
      holes (now dry) and some narrow "suicide" chutes that the road goes
      through. I did see Hermit Warblers at one of the side pullouts
      (there are only about three of them the entire way).

      One the way home I stopped at the Benbow State Park, accessed via the
      old Hwy 101 road which exits Hwy 101 just north of the "Bigfoot"
      souvenir shop just before the freeway). This takes you to an old
      state campground right under MAL COOMB MEMORIAL bridge where you can
      watch White-throated Swifts entering the vertical drain
      holes. There are also Vaux's Swifts around. This is, however,
      Humboldt County. I did not get a chance to check out the Piercy
      bridge or any of the other Mendocino County bridge structures.

      Good birding, Bob Keiffer



      Robert J. Keiffer
      Principal Supt. of Agriculture
      UC Hopland Research & Extension Center
      4070 University Road
      Hopland, CA 95449
      (707) 744-1424 FAX (707) 744-1040
      HREC website: http://danrrec.ucdavis.edu/hopland/home_page.html

      "It is not the critic who counts... not the one who points out how
      the strong person stumbles... or where the doer of deeds could have
      done better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the
      arena." Theodore Roosevelt

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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