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Birds and Marine Mammals of the Point Reyes Headlands

Birds and Marine Mammals of the Point Reyes Headlands

June 2, 2023
The Chimney Rock – Lighthouse Headlands is a dramatic part of the Seashore. Explore this area’s variety of birds and marine mammals.

The area between Chimney Rock and the Lighthouse is one of the most visually striking in the national seashore. In the early summer its natural history is equally rich. Pigeon Guillemot, Common Murre and Brandt’s Cormorant are some of the birds nesting on the sea cliffs while some loons, grebes and Surf Scoters linger in Drakes Bay.

This class will cover the nesting behaviors of these seabirds. In some conditions warblers, flycatchers and other songbirds pause in the cypress trees on the way to their breeding regions. We will focus on their identification.

Molting Elephant Seals may be on the beaches while other pinnipeds feed in the rich marine habitat. With any luck there may be a feeding Humpback Whale offshore or a lingering Gray Whale just past the surf. All this and more contribute to a wonderfully rich tapestry of biological diversity. In several short hikes we will explore this area and discover its full splendor.

David Wimpfheimer is a professional naturalist and biologist. For almost forty years David has pursed his passion, natural history of the America West. He enthusiastically shares his extensive knowledge about all aspects of the natural world with many groups including Smithsonian Institution, California Academy of Sciences, Road Scholar and Oceanic Society.

Photo Credit: Pusher Inc.


-We will be meeting at the Chimney Rock Trailhead/Parking Lot

– Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to check in

– Refunds available for all classes 7 days in advance of the start date, after 7 days and before 2 days, participants can credit their class for a future date. All requests before 48 hours in advance will be declined. For COVID cancellation policy, see below.

– Please follow the parking instructions for the facility used that day

– Please provide an email you check regularly for updates and reminders about your class

– Registration is required online prior to the event in order to maintain class sizes

– Sales end 48 hours before the start date.

– Waitlists are available when the class sells out

What to Bring

Binoculars are strongly recommeneded

Day Pack


Warm Variable Weather Clothing

Hiking Shoes

Water Bottle

Notebook and Pen/Field Journal

Eventbrite Confirmation Email

Camera (Optional)

About the PRNSA Field Institute

The PRNSA Field Institute offers hands-on environmental education classes throughout the year that foster enjoyment of Point Reyes National Seashore. Our classes are led by expert instructors, who take you out of your everyday life and into the natural world. We host a variety of classes about the arts and sciences and have something for everyone. You can reach the Field Institute at (415) 663-1200 x304 or by email at

Interested in becoming a member of PRNSA? Click Here!

Interested in becoming a PRNSA Field Institute volunteer facilitator, or are you an outdoor educator or artist who would like to teach a PRNSA Field Institute class? Send an Email!

For any questions, please email us at

COVID-19 Field Institute Guidelines

In accordance with Marin County guidelines for public health and safety, we ask all participants to respect the following COVID-19 procedures:

• Perform a health self-check before coming to class using the CDC Symptoms of Coronavirus as a guide

• Do not attend class if you are experiencing COVID symptoms, suspect you have been exposed to the virus, or are suffering from any other flu-like or respiratory illness

• Participants exhibiting signs of respiratory illness may be asked to leave class

• Masks are optional but are strongly recommended when indoors or if gathered closely outside

• Please bring your own food and water

NOTE: Refund policy exceptions will be made for participants cancelling last minute due to COVID-19 infection or symptoms. Please contact us in this case.

Thank you for your cooperation in following these guidelines to help keep everyone safe.