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Wildlife and Habitat

Egret and Heron Rookery

East and West Marin Islands only compose 10.5 acres of the 339-acre refuge.  The rest is submerged tidelands. The islands consist of mixed evergreen forest, coastal prairie, coastal salt marsh and northern coastal scrub. In the tidal and sub-tidal habitats surrounding the islands, diving ducks are commonly seen along with grebes, brown and white pelicans, and terns, and black oystercatchers.  

  • Herons and Egrets

    Great Egret Head

    Marin Islands provide nesting habitat to one of the largest heron and egret rookeries in northern California.  Herons and egrets would gather material on East Marin Island and build their nests on West Marin Island. 

  • Black Oystercatcher

    Black Oystercatcher Pair

    Marin Islands National Wildlife Refuge is just one of two sites in the San Francisco Bay Area where black oystercatchers are known to nest (the other site is Alcatraz island). 

Page Photo Credits — Heron and Egret Rookery/Kerry Wilcox, Great Egret Head/Alex Baranda, Black Oystercatchers/Kerry Wilcox
Last Updated: Jan 08, 2013
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