It is 12:30p on a beautiful, sunny and calm New Year’s Day. I am writing this post from the Lighthouse office and can’t wait to get back out to the observation platform.

We have had a fantastic opening weekend. Weather and wildlife have cooperated. Each of the docents have been excited for the start of the season and are thrilled to be in this wonderful place helping visitors to learn about whales, elephant seals, birds and the history of Point Reyes.

While words won’t do justice to the experience of opening weekend, here are a few thoughts and comments from the weekend:

  • Whales: 15 spotted on Saturday, 16 spotted on Sunday and Monday is on track for a similar number
  • Elephant seal pups: 8 were visible from the overlook on Monday evening, 5 of which were born between PM Saturday and PM Monday. One of the visitors, with a long telephoto lens, captured a picture of a pup with the umbilical cord attached.
  • Weather and tides permitting, we will have the first elephant seal count this coming week.
  • After Dan Crocker’s presentation about increased male elephant seals being more active at night, Carlo led a nighttime walk from the Lifeboat Station out to the elephant seal overlook. There were hopes of capturing some seals on an infrared camera. While the camera didn’t have the needed resolution, the moon provided ample light for some great viewing.
  • The peregrine falcon has spent much of the last two days sitting on a rock, just 30 feet from the north side of the observation platform. It has been super special to be able to see this bird up close without the need for any optics. There were also several bouts when the falcon ran an intruding juvenile red-tailed hawk out of the vicinity. This was a great show of aerobatics.
  • One of our first-year docents had a 15-minute exchange with a group of visitors at the elephant seal overlook, what made this contact so extraordinary was that it was in French!
  • I chatted with a woman that has been coming to the park every New Year’s Day for 50 years!! It is rare to meet someone that has a longer tenure here with whales and elephant seals than Sterling. 🙂
  • A huge thanks to Leila for working on the whale observation platform today. Leila is one of the only WWD’s with a tenure as long as Sterlings. She was the first Lead Winter Wildlife Docent, 22 years ago. I feel so fortunate to have been able to learn from her experience today. Leila, you are an awesome woman and are definitely the Lead Docent Emeritus!!!
  • Lastly, the docent community, during the evenings at the Lifeboat Station is strong. Our love for the wildlife and the park seems to be the common thread that brings a set of diverse and great people together. Every evening spent in the company of fellow docents at the Lifeboat Station is truly inspiring and is a great bonding experience. David, Anna, Arianne, Stacy, Judy and Heather a huge thanks to you all for a great experience and a nice glass of bubbles.

Thanks to all of the docents that spent time in the park this weekend. I am excited to work with each of you again.