Estero Bluffs

May 8, 2020 at 6:23 pm (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, California wildflowers, Nature, Nature photography, San Luis Obispo County) (, , )

A partial fogbow

Estero Bluffs is one of my favorite places along the California coast. The best trail for me is this one, by the windmill. On this morning, it was the second trail of the day for my friend and me.

Windmill and oaks

The fogbow was a bit of magic that added to the beauty of the oaks and windmill.

So we spent some time documenting this fleeting beauty before heading down to the beach. It was a great trail for me, as I had hip replacement surgery six weeks earlier and didn’t require a lot of up and down.

American goldfinch male

There was a smattering of wildlife on the grassy prairie on the short walk down to the beach.

I found a little vole munching on some greenery.

Red-winged blackbirds were in full regalia.

The best reason to visit this beach, however, is that it is a breeding spot for the endangered snowy plover.

Male snowy plover

The nesting area is roped off, and if there were any nests we were not in a position to see them. However there were three unbanded and one banded adult.

Banded male snowy plover

A small flock of whimbrels was at the waterline along with sanderlings and one least sandpiper.


A female harrier took a break from scouting for breakfast.

The yellow flowers are invasive mustard, which makes up for its displacement of native plants by being so darned beautiful.


There weren’t too many people this early in the morning. In normal times I prefer this anyway, but in the COVID-19 era it’s a matter of safety.

Forget the narration… just enjoy the rest of the images!

Another nice treat was that my favorite Mexican restaurant El Chorlito in San Simeon was open! For carry-out only, of course. It was the first restaurant meal I’d had in about three months. We drove to an overlook along the beach and ate in the car. I normally eat on the patio to enjoy the succulent garden, but at least we got to enjoy the stunning flowers while they prepared our meals.

View of Hollister Peak from Hwy 46 viewpoint on the way home.

I will post the cool fogbow pictures from our first trip to a beach in Cayucos next. Altogether I walked 3.5 miles! And my leg (the one with the new hip) was only a little swollen the next day! I had the BEST surgeon.

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre
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Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America
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Christmas Eve Birding

December 26, 2018 at 5:15 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Wildlife) (, )

Black Oystercatcher

There was patchy fog in Paso Robles, and I figured it would be thick at the coast, but I was pleasantly surprised. I’d heard about some good birds at several of the Estero Bluffs State Park lookouts and wanted to add a few to my life list.

I was fortunate to find both harlequin ducks, although they were in different spots on the “Fig Tree” trail.

Black Turnstone

I also added the black turnstone to my life list and photo collection!

Peregrine Falcon

I couldn’t believe it was warm enough to wear a tank top. I’ve been out there on a summer afternoon when it was windy and darned cold!

Cayucos from the Estero Bluffs trail

I was happy to see some colorful-billed surf scoters riding the waves.

Then there were the usual suspects.

Yellow-rumped (Audubon’s) warbler showing its butterbutt
Turkey Vulture patrolling the shore

Juvenile double-crested cormorant

Before I made it back to the car, the fish scale clouds rolled in. I knew rain was coming, but I tucked in a short trip to the Morro Bay Marina boardwalk. It was uncharacteristically quiet, perhaps because of the incoming rain.

View of the Back Bay, from Morro Bay Marina
Morro Rock

Unknown shorebird

I gave myself a headache trying to figure which species the above bird was, but I’ll add its name when I find out. It was at Estero Bluffs, and I think it was about the size of the black turnstones. A gentle mist began by the time I was in the car, and we received another welcome dose of rain overnight.

Our coastal hills turn green in winter – thanks to the rain!

This is my favorite viewpoint on State Hwy 46 between Paso Robles and the coast. It’s starting to look like Ireland!

I hear “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” – the original version — is on TV now, so I must end this post to give my Christmas Day a proper ending.

Happy Holidays to all!

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share


Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

Join my Facebook Page

Contact:  cindy at

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