Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Steller's Jay Family at Humboldt Redwoods State Park

When I'm traveling in the mountains, I never fail to see a Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri). More than just about any bird, they've adapted to the presence of humans in their habitat, and as such are common birds at every campground and picnic area. Despite their abundance, I've almost never managed to catch many good shots. They are in constant motion, so almost all my shots are bright blue blurs.
I've fallen so far behind in my bird postings that I forgot that I managed a few nice shots of some Steller's Jays at Albee Creek Campground at Humboldt Redwoods State Park in Northern California. We were on the first day of our Pacific Northwest vacation, and had discovered this quiet corner of one of California's most busy state parks. Albee Creek is a couple of miles off of Highway 101 in a forest of giant Redwood trees.
The jays were doing their usual thing, looking for scraps of food in the campsite. I realized after a while that two of the jays were smaller and were clearly juveniles getting trained in the art of campground scavenging. The birds are intelligent and resourceful, able to adapt to changing conditions. That's why they deal so well with human habitats.
Juvenile Steller's Jay
Albee Creek Campground is located along a meadow ringed by Redwood trees. It was an old homestead that was incorporated into the state park when it was established in the 1920s. Mattole Road, which provides access to the campground, winds over the ridges to one of the most isolated parts of the California shoreline, the Lost Coast around Cape Mendocino. It's a fascinating place to explore.

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