Guides and Trips

Tail waggle (Swanton, California, United States) Photo
Elephant Seals Photo
Elephant Seals Photo
Elephant Seals Photo
Año Nuevo Guided Walk
by tclifton on Feb 09, 2012
Swanton, California, United States
Elephant Seals | 3.5 miles
My first trip to Año Nuevo was about 20 years ago. I don't remember a whole lot about the trip and I can't find any of my photos from it. I have been back a couple of times since then an always encountered Elephant Seals. That kind of surprised me because I thought that they were only around in the winter.It turns out that the seals are here year round. Who is...
Source Rock Photo
A new wall to support the trail Photo
Horse shoe Photo
New trail, old trail Photo
Bird Island trail preview
by tclifton on Feb 06, 2012
Carmel, California, United States
trail preview | 0.8 miles
How often do you get a chance to preview a trail before it is finished. I had the opportunity today, so I took it. Point Lobos State Reserve is modifying and upgrading the Bird Island Loop trail to make it ADA accessible. This means rerouting the trail to minimize the gradient (no more steps), widening it and improving it to accommodate wheelchairs, and providing new viewing areas.When it is done, this will...
The class arrives Photo
Harbor Seal Photo
Flying pebbles Photo
Snowy Egret Photo
Point Lobos Field Trip
by tclifton on Nov 19, 2011
Carmel Highlands, California, United States
MPC Oceanography field trip | 5.1 miles
I hooked up with the Monterey Peninsula College( MPC) Oceanography Class' field trip to Point Lobos today. I have been working at MPC as a Physical Sciences Lab Manager for the last couple of months and (as those of you who have been following me know) I'll use any excuse that I can to get out to Point Lobos.I arrived early which allowed me to tour the reserve in the truck before...
Lesser Yellowlegs Photo
Northern Flicker Photo
Bewick's Wren Photo
California Quail Photo
Annual termite hatch
by tclifton on Oct 05, 2011
Carmel Highlands, California, United States
Bird Watching | 3.3 miles
California has a wet season and a dry season. The dry season usually runs from May to October, making baseball rain-outs rare. The dry season ends with the first substantial rain, which usually lasts about a day and then the weather clears and warms again.This rain triggers the annual termite hatch when termites come streaming out of their subterranean homes and take flight, hoping to find a mate and create a new...
California Thrasher Photo
Slender ice plant Photo
Slender ice plant Photo
Garder Snake Photo
Invasive weed abatement at Point Lobos
by tclifton on Jul 12, 2011
Carmel, California, United States
Pulling weeds | 1.2 miles
So this wasn't much of a hike, it was pulling weeds for four hours in one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. But, it did get me crawling over parts of the reserve that are definitely off trail. The goal of the invasive abatement program is to stem the tide of invasive weeds and give the native plants a chance.Seems like a worthy thing to volunteer for.We spent the morning...
Peregrine Falcon Photo
Peregrine Falcon Photo
Peregrine and Turkey Vulture Photo
Turkey Vulture Photo
Late winter birding at Point Lobos
by tclifton on Mar 01, 2011
Carmel Highlands, California, United States
Bird Watching | 4.7 miles
While I wasn't planing on spending 3 hours at Lobos, these things happen. It turned out to be a wonderful day for spotting and photographing raptors and butterflies. I started at the Bird Island parking lot and was just going to do the Bird Island loop and see if I could spot the Peregrine Falcon. As I came around the bend, I heard a cry, looked up, and spotted the falcon in...
Snowy Egret Photo
Snowy Egret Photo
Black Phoebe Photo
Loose Kelp Photo
Fall Birding at Point Lobos
by tclifton on Oct 18, 2010
Carmel Highlands, California, United States
Bird Watching | 4.7 miles
Another jaunt at Point Lobos to check out the fall sights, birds, late flowers, and termites. I actually didn't plan on the termites, but should have because it was the first clear day after the first rain of the season. Termite hatches seem far less threatening when they aren't happening in your neighborhood. The birds also seemed to like the event.
Western Scrub-jay Photo
Black Pheobe Photo
Harbor Seal Photo
Double-crested Cormorants Photo
Granite Point, Moss Cove Trail
by tclifton on Sep 28, 2010
Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, United States
Bird Watching | 2.3 miles
This is a revisit to a trail I walked last spring but never got around to writing about. It is a nice flat 2 mile out and back from Whaler's Cove to the Ichxenta Point at the northwest corner of the Reserve. The first half of the trail is wheel-chair accessible.The trail starts across from the Whaler's Cabin Museum. You can park in the Whaler's Cove parking lot, but it will fill...
Little waves Photo
Bewick's Wren Photo
Poison Oak Photo
Band-tailed Pigeon Photo
Point Lobos - 100910
by tclifton on Sep 10, 2010
California, United States
Bird Watching | 2.1 miles
I took a short hike around Point Lobos. I mostly wanted to take some photos and see some birds. Perhaps see some more whales or dolphins (but that didn't pan out).It was a short hike, but I did get down to Sea Lion Point. I have been wanting to clean up the trail map down there for a while. Erosion at the Point has cause a few changes in where the trails...
Bird Island Photo
Sea cave/arch at China Beach Photo
Alligator Lizzard Photo
Hanging flowers Photo
Point Lobos truthing hike 2
by tclifton on Aug 11, 2010
Carmel Highlands, California, United States
Bird Watching | 3.8 miles
Another little hike where I was recording waypoints to tighten up my trail maps. This hike solidified my thought that very few people use the interior trails. The Reserve was packed, they were letting in cars in small groups when I got there a bit before noon. Both Whaler's Cove and Sea Lion Point parking lots were full, as was the parking lot at the Slot. I found one last spot at...
Sea Otters Photo
Killdeer Photo
flowers Photo
grasses Photo
Point Lobos truthing hike
by tclifton on Jul 27, 2010
California, United States
Bird Watching | 3.5 miles
The trail map at Point Lobos is not especially accurate. Specifically most of the interior trails only vaguely represent reality (they are in the same zip code and roughly run in the correct direction). Since I have collected gps tracks while walking the Reserve's trails for the last year, I figure I can help produce an improved map. But since gps tracks themselves are less than accurate, I set out to collect...
Sea Otter Photo
Sea Lions Photo
Kelp delivery Photo
Evidence of a breaching Humpback Photo
Monterey whale watching
by tclifton on Jul 23, 2010
Monterey, California, United States
whale watching | 31 miles
Last Friday, I went out on a whale watching trip on Monterey Bay. It was an amazing trip, we saw dozens of whales (both Humpback and Blue). The whales were feeding on the surface, so there was lots of action as they burst up with mouths agape, feeding on krill. It is truly amazing to watch the world's largest animal feeding on critters that are no bigger than 2 cm. It is...
Great Egret Photo
Canada Goose Photo
Wild Turkeys Photo
Song Sparrow Photo
Point Lobos - Granite Point trail
by tclifton on Apr 13, 2010
Carmel Highlands, California, United States
Bird Watching | 2.2 miles
This out and back hike is just over two miles (if you add in the loops) along the northeast shore at Point Lobos State Reserve.Bear with me as I try to upload photos for a guide. I will get back to finish this shortly because it was a nice little hike.
Wildflowers Photo
Wildflowers Photo
Robin Photo
Gray Squirrel Photo
Point Lobos - Interior Trails
by tclifton on Jun 22, 2010
Carmel Highlands, California, United States
Hiking | 4.7 miles
For this hike, I wanted to focus on the interior trails at Point Lobos and pick up a few places that I haven't covered so far. I define the interior trails as those that cut across the Reserve in contrast to the main trails that go around its perimiter. There are four main interior trails at Point Lobos, the Mound Meadows trail, the Pine Ridge trail, the Lace Lichen trail and the...
Wild rose and ferns Photo
Bewick's Wren Photo
Hairy Woodpecker Photo
Chestnut-backed Chickadee Photo
Point Lobos - Whalers Knoll
by tclifton on Jun 04, 2010
Carmel Highlands, California, United States
Bird Watching | 4.0 miles
This was another birding hike, but then all of my hikes these days focus on birding. I also wanted to cover two trails that I had not hiked before, the Whaler's Knoll trail and the Lace Lichen trail. I started at the Sea Lion Point parking lot and headed north on the North Shore trail. At a little over a quarter of a mile, the Whaler's Knoll trial heads off to the...
Sick Sea Lion? Photo
Harbor Seals Photo
Brandt's Cormorants Photo
Black-crowned Night Heron Photo
Point Lobos Birding
by tclifton on Apr 28, 2010
Carmel Highlands, California, United States
Bird Watching | 4.5 miles
Point Lobos has been called the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world. I won't argue that here. It is also a nice place to do some easy hikes and if you like viewing birds and marine mammals it is well suited for that too.For this trip, I chose the main perimeter trails. They give you a good sense of what the reserve has to offer in a 4.5 mile...
Western Kingbird Photo
Western Meadowlark Photo
White-faced Ibis Photo
White-faced Ibis Photo
San Luis National Wildlife Refuge - 2
by tclifton on Apr 09, 2010
Trent, California, United States
Birding | 11.4 miles
The second stop was a the main part of the Refuge. Here there are two routes that you can take, the Tule Elk route and the waterfowl route. I took the later. Several sections of this route as listed on the map were closed so it was mostly an out and back trip rather than a a loop. I didn't take as many pictures, though was pleased with the ibis shots. Also had...
American Coots Photo
Red-winged Blackbird Photo
Northern Harrier Photo
Western Meadowlark Photo
San Luis National Wildlife Refuge
by tclifton on Apr 09, 2010
Stevinson, California, United States
Birding | 3.1 miles
I stopped in on the way home from Modesto. While I had originally planned to hike around in Grassllands State Park. I missed the parking lot and it was windy and cold so I did the auto tour around the West Bear Creek Unit instead.The ducks were all skittish (probably the result of hunting), but the shorebirds didn't seem to mind the car. The birding was good and it is definitely worth...
Buckeye butterfly Photo
White-tailed Kite Photo
Common Goldeneye Photo
Tiger Swallowtail Photo
Elkhorn Slough Birding
by tclifton on Mar 24, 2010
Elkhorn, California, United States
birding | 4.7 miles
Another trip to Elkhorn Slough Reserve. I started out on a new trail and then continued to cover almost all of the other trails in the reserve. At this point, I have covered all of the terrain. You can cover all of the loops and trails and get in about six miles of mostly flat hiking. I skipped one trail, an out and back to the north marsh overlook.Birding is good. You...
Eucalyptus Photo
UP freight Photo
Un-spotted Towhee Photo
Grasses Photo
Elkhorn Slough Birding
by tclifton on Oct 07, 2009
Elkhorn, California, United States
birding | 4.9 miles
The moral to this hike is to check the tide tables before going on a hike in a coastal region. The planned loop with a couple of side trips became an out and back when a key levee was flooded by the high tide. While I am sure that I could have crossed the levee and just gotten my feet wet, I don't like getting my feet wet.I had a good hike regardless.

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