But always bring a camera for the birds.
Lighthouse Field State Beach includes the beach below (which is commonly known as dog-friendly Its Beach) and the field across from the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum (the first of its kind in California).
Steamer Lane Supply offers “HEALTHY AND DELICIOUS FOOD AND DRINKS ALONG WITH SURF SUPPLIES AND APPAREL.” We always order the same things for breakfast: Iced Turkish coffees and a Break-a-dilla (think flat breakfast burrito) for me and a breakfast taco for Katherine.
This morning was no exception.
We saw several White-crowned Sparrows and a Say’s Phoebe. The Phoebe stayed put long enough for me to take a few photos and then it, too, flew off.
I saw a bird-like shape near the top of a Cypress. I couldn’t tell what it was and took a few photos. Often, when I download the photos, I’ll find that I’ve taken a photo of a large pinecone or a lighter clump of leaves.
When I downloaded these photos, though, I saw what looked like a Western Meadowlark. Because I’ve never seen what up in a tree before, I ID’d the bird using the eBird app. My identification was correct; it was a Meadowlark. From what I read, though, high trees are not their usual hangout.
We often see raptors perched in the trees. We’ve seen a Peregrine Falcon (before I even knew what that was!) and Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks.
So it was no surprise to see, perched in a dead tree, a big, beautiful Red-tailed Hawk.
We walked toward it, but I took too direct a route and it flew off to a Cypress [tree identification courtesy of Katherine!). I continued to walk toward it, but more slowly. Apparently, not slow enough. The Hawk flew off again.
Luckily, this was one of the rare occasions when a bird flies toward me. I was able to get a couple of shots as it took off and flew overhead.
The Hawk flew behind us. We were on our way out of Lighthouse Field, so I didn’t bother the Hawk further.
When you visit Lighthouse State Beach, don’t neglect the field across West Cliff Drive. It’s a great place for a quick meal and you’ll always find birds.
NOTE: The Eucalyptus grove near Steamer Lane Supply is noted for the Monarchs that can be found wintering there. Another reason to visit Lighthouse Field State Beach!