Natural History of the Point Reyes Headlands

Natural History of the Point Reyes Headlands

April 30, 2021
Enjoy one of the most dramatic parts of the seashore’s rich natural history as we explore for wildflowers, gray whales, and sea birds.

The area between the Lighthouse, Chimney Rock and Drakes Beach is one of the most visually striking in the national seashore. In the spring its natural history is equally rich.

Blooming paintbrush, iris, lillies and other wildflowers and put on a dramatic and diverse display. Young or molting Elephant Seals rest on beaches while Harbor Seals, California Sea Lions and other pinnipeds feed in the rich marine habitat.

This can be a good time to see migratory Gray Whales, perhaps mothers with their nursing calves. Pigeon Guillemot, Common Murre and Brandt’s Cormorant are some of the birds nesting in the area while loons, Surf Scoter and Brant migrate past the point, sometimes in the thousands.

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. The class will meet at the Lighthouse parking lot.

David Wimpfheimer is a professional naturalist and biologist. For thirty years David has pursed his passion, natural history of the American 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.


-We will be meeting at the Lighthouse 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 required

Day Pack

Lunch Bag

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!

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Are you an outdoor educator or artist who would like to teach a PRNSA Field Institute class? Shoot us 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 will require 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-19 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

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.

During class all participants will be required to do the following

Wear a protective face covering

Maintain a 6 foot physical distance from other participants not belonging to your household

Bring your own food and water

Current group sizes are limited, there will be no physical contact or sharing of food and drink, and no shared physical equipment or materials unless they are sanitized before and after use, and used by only one person for the duration of class

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