Virtual Pedro Point

Ecological Communities of Pedro Point Headlands

headlands south land life image

San Pedro Rock

San Pedro Rock is an important roosting and nesting spot for numerous species of seabirds. Brandt's and Pelagic Cormorants, and Westerrn Gulls nest on the rock. Those three species plus Brown Pelicans and several other species of gulls roost there. Peregrine Falcons can sometimes be spotted sitting on high ledges and crags.

Large numbers of Harbor Seals haul-out along the rock's southern shore.

Coastal Scrub

The two dominant species of shrub in this first photo are Coyote Bush or Coyote Brush (Baccharis pilularis) and California Sage (Artemisia californica).

The characteristic birds of this habitat are Wrentit, Bewick's Wren, California Thrasher, Spotted Towhee, and the Nuttall's race of White-crowned Sparrow, all permanent residents, plus, in winter, Fox Sparrow.

The most conspicuous mammal in this habitat is Brush Rabbit (Sylvilagus bachmani).

The coastal scrub habitat illustrates how important summer fog is in the maintenance of this community. Due to the fog, there is a rich growth of lichens on the branches of the Coyote Bush and California Sage.

Coastal Prairie

Coastal Prairie is a threatened habitat along the central California coast.

In winter, Say's Phoebe can be found in this habitat, and during spring and fall migration seasons, Northern Harrier and Short-eared Owl might be seen hunting over it.

Monterey Pine Woods

Monterey Pine, while occurring naturally in the Año Nuevo area about 30 miles to the south, was introduced on the headlands.

However, despite being an introduced species, the pines add ecological value to the area, providing habitat to numerous species not found in the coastal scrub. Many of the birds typical of the native stands of Monterey Pine, such as Pygmy Nuthatch, Hairy Woodpecker, and Steller's Jay can be found in the small patches of Monterey Pine woods on the headlands. In winter, mixed-species flocks of small insectivorous birds, such as Townsend's and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets, and Chestnut-backed Chickadees move around from patch to patch.

Eucalyptus Forest

Eucalyptus is another introduced species on the headlands, though originating in Tasmania and Australia, considerably farther away than the Monterey Pine. Like Monterey Pine, despite the introduced status of the species, the Eucalyptus forest helps to increase the overall biodiversity of the headlands. During the nesting season, many species of neotropical migrant songbirds, such as Olive-sided Flycatcher, Western Wood Pewee, and Swainson's Thrush can be found nesting in this habitat. All through the year, Pacific Wrens can be found moving through the thick undergrowth.