Stretching along the Northern California coast and home to over 1500 species of plants and animals, Point Reyes National Seashore offers plentiful opportunities to connect with the area’s several cultures and diverse habitats.

Northern elephant seal waving hello from Drake's Beach
Northern elephant seal waving hello from Drake’s Beach (Photo by Diego Morales).

One of the park’s most popular sites is the northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) that can be found stretching along some of the park’s beaches most of the year. Currently, most of the elephant seals that can be seen are molting females and juveniles. Called a catastrophic molt, elephant seals lose their old skin and hair in patches abruptly.

California Quail along the Kule Loklo trail
California Quail along the Kule Loklo trail (Photo by Diego Morales)
Diego Morales along the Woodpecker trail
Diego Morales along the Woodpecker trail (Photo by Kevin García López).

Even though the famous lighthouse is undergoing repairs, Point Reyes offers hiking trails for those of all abilities, and I familiarized myself with four hiking trails just in my first week, including the Woodpecker and Kule Loklo trails. Along these paths, a myriad of birds can be heard and seen, including the state bird the California Quail (Callipepla californica) which I have seen almost 20 times already!

In addition to the park’s wildlife, the histories and cultures of the Coast Miwok, European explorers, maritime history, and ranching history are told at the park. A main aspect of my internship is to assist with  Big Time Festival, a Coast Miwok event that happens every year.

Looking forward, I have plans to spend a day with the snowy plover ecologist and the park archaeologist, both longtime interests of mine. So be sure to come back each week to follow along, and as always, if you have any questions or comments feel free to check-in down below!

Diego Morales in front of the Pacific Ocean
Diego Morales in front of the Pacific Ocean watching for Common Mure (Uria aalge) (Photo by Carlo Arreglo)
Elephant seals from the Elephant Seal Overlook
Elephant seals from the Elephant Seal Overlook (Photo by Diego Morales)
Coastal bluff at Point Reyes
Coastal bluff at Point Reyes (Photo by Diego Morales)
View along Drake's Beach
View along Drake’s Beach (Photo by Diego Morales)
Coastal cliffs along Drake's Beach
Coastal cliffs along Drake’s Beach (Photo by Diego Morales)
Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis)
Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) (Photo by Diego Morales)

Diego Morales

Diego was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and is an undergraduate student in the Society & Environment major and Anthropology minor programs at the University of California at Berkeley. This summer he is interning as an interpretation and resource education assistant at Point Reyes National Seashore in the interpretive department. Before Point Reyes, Diego spent a semester as an Every Kid in a Park intern at Rosie the Riveter/World War II National Historical Park. A more long-term educational and career goal of his would be to bridge and solve environmental and social issues being faced, ideally as an environmental lawyer.

1 Comment

Marian Brubaker · June 8, 2019 at 4:21 pm

Diego, Your blog is very informative and interesting as well as your pictures. Enjoy your time there!!!

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