"This is peak migration season for birds, and all the birdwatchers are excited about it - so it's at a particularly bad time," she said. Voice breaking with emotion, she added, "It's disturbing. These are all beaches that I love and spend a lot of time at."
Coast Guard officials said 16 beaches have so far been contaminated and closed off, and large patches of oil are floating on the bay. Beaches closed including Baker Beach, China Beach, Keller Beach, Point Isabel, Ferry Point, Caesar Chavez, Crissy Field and Fort Point.
Along Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands, National Park Service ranger Robert Del Secco kept visitors away from the beach, which is covered in dark clumps of oil.
The pungent oil scent can be smelled around the Bay Area.