The first location we went to was Zmudowski State Beach which is not recommended for swimming or surfing because of the strong rip-currents. The only swimmers out there were what I think were surf scoters. They were too far away to tell, and the fog didn't help either.
I haven't yet edited the bird photos, but we saw tons of brown pelicans, various gulls, snowy plovers, a great egret, a great blue heron, barn swallows that moved to fast to take a picture of, ducks, and cormorants - double crested I think, and the aforementioned surf scoter (i think). I saw all of these, and attempted to take pictures of them all. Some worked, some didn't. There were other birds I'm sure others saw and remember, but I don't remember.
Apparently, Zmudowski used to be a nude beach. Whatever floats your boat i guess... I just don't get it though because all I can think about is sand more easily getting in crevices you wouldn't want.
It's an interesting area that's not easy to find. It's behind a bunch of farmland and you have to drive on a dirt road that zigs and zags around said farmland. Then you park in a lot and hope you don't get your car broken into, and walk about 3/4 mile to the beach along a pretty cool dirt path that meanders by a freshwater pond. Now that I think back, I think we heard quail on the dunes behind the pond and adjacent to the beach. Some folks went chasing them.
The dunes behind the lagoon on the beach where folks were "hunting" quail.
Some folks might lament there being housing there, but I think it's pretty good looking, and it is high density and not sprawling, and it's pretty rare in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties thanks to the California Coastal Commission. Fortunately this area wasn't pushing for development prior to 1972 when Prop 20, the precursor to CCC was passed, as opposed to SoCal.
This is the entire development. Not much, is it?
These footprints in the sand were pretty cool. On the left I believe they are coyote tracks, although it is possible they were dog tracks, but they were coming from the dunes and crossing towards the beach, so I really think they were from coyotes. The bird tracks on the right were cool too. I had one shot that criss-crossed bigger tracks with smaller tracks. I have no idea what bird made them, and doubt there's any way to tell either.