Saturday, October 31, 2009

Coyote Pt., North Side - San Mateo, CA - Oct. 30, 2009

Walking Distance: 2.34 miles (7,443 steps)
Walking Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes (4:15 - 5:50 p.m.)
Start & End Point: Coyote Point Parking lot, San Mateo, CA

Today I walked around the North/West side of Coyote Point - up to, and around, the Yacht Harbor area and back. There were some nice views of the Bay, boats, and windsurfers. And I enjoyed seeing the distant San Francisco skyline appearing ever closer. However, I'll need to take fewer pictures or walk faster if I'm going to make it through San Francisco by the end Dec. 2009.

Make sure you get to Coyote Point relatively early in the afternoon. (Yesterday, (10/29) I attempted this same walk. However, due to the Bay Bridge closure for repairs, thousands of cars were trying to squeeze onto the nearby San Mateo bridge, and by the time I negotiated my way through traffic to the Coyote Point park entrance kiosk, the park person wouldn't let me through as it was too close to closing time. Ah well. I'm determined to keep going, despite natural and man-made inconveniences. Speaking of which, there was construction going on and some detour signs (to to some erosion and collapsed asphalt path) in a few sections (see image). So, make sure you look at a current map first.

Wildlife Sightings:
22 ducks; 60 Canada geese; 7 Western grebes (in water/Bay); 22 sea gulls; several planes flying overhead (into San Francisco Airport); and 3 crows.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Seal Pt. Park - Coyote Pt. Marina - Oct. 26, 2009

Walking Distance: 2.25 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 25 minutes (3:45 - 5:10 p.m.)
Start & End Point: Seal Point Park parking lot, in San Mateo, CA

I walked from the Seal Point parking lot across the creative little bridge and along the Bay toward the Coyote Point Marina. The sun was out, but gusty winds kept wildlife sightings to a minimum along some stretches here. My attention was focused on hanging on to my hat and belongings, and some birds took cover, and were less visible.

I walked out to the end of the Coyote Point marina/jetty,
and then turned around to walk back to Seal Point Park.

Wildlife Sightings:
3 crows; 14 little brown jobs (LBJs); 38 sea gulls; 7 snowy egrets; 2 ducks; 66 unidentified brownish shorebirds; 17 American Avocets; 1 great blue heron; 3 terns (flying); 1 Western grebe (on water/in Bay)

Foster City Blvd - Seal Pt. Park, San Mateo - Oct. 26, 2009

Walking Distance: 3.61 miles
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 26 min. (11:22 a.m.- 1:48 p.m.)
Start & End Point: Parking near golf course, in (near Mariners Blvd & 3rd Ave.), Foster City, CA

This past week, I took a few days off (to walk other areas in the Bay Area); but today I'm back to walking the Bay. Thank you to Marlene, who joined me on my walk today. We first walked south/east (to point where I left off last week), and then north/west, as far as Seal Point Park. The weather was nice, although the breeze was starting to pick up a bit. We saw quite a few feral cats (6). A man appeared to be feeding them, which is probably why they'd come out into the open.

(Note: I thought I left my camera at home, but I found it later, and took these snaps of 1.) the sculptures in Seal Point Park near my car, in the parking area at the top of the hill, and also 2.) the San Mateo Bridge between and behind another sculpture that looks like a pair of cymbals.)

Wildlife Sightings:
65 sea gulls; 6 feral cats; 49 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 white-tailed kite; 2 crows; 1 hawk; 7 unidentified brownish shorebirds; 3 killdeer; 1 great egret; 1 turkey vulture; 3 snowy egrets; 12 black-necked stilts; 25 cormorants; 2 butterflies; 1 Western grebe in water; 6 pigeons

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Foster City - San Mateo Bridge - Oct. 20, 2009

Walking Distance: 2.61 miles
Walking Time: ~ 1 hr., 27 minutes (4:11 - 5:38 p.m.)
Start & End Point: Street parking, across from Beach Park Plaza Shopping Center, Beach Park Blvd., Foster City, CA

Thanks to Sandy D. for joining me in this walk, where we had a chance to catch up while walking under the San Mateo bridge (see picture) and exploring realms beyond. (The San Mateo County Fishing Pier was closed, so we couldn't walk out onto it.) It was a sunny, breezy day, with fairly clear visibility (due to rains yesterday). Two windsurfers zipped along the surface of the Bay in the distance,

Wildlife Sightings:
5 crows; 3 cormorants; 2 sea gulls; 4 Western grebes (in the Bay); 2 little brown jobs (LBJs); 3 brown pelicans; 4 snails; 55 unidentified brownish shorebirds; and 15 American avocets -- seen from a distance (and they could have been unidentified brownish shorebirds). The one mystery animal I can identify (see image at right) is the feral cat that was rooting around in the rocks.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Foster City; rest of Lagoon/Slough Purple Line - Oct. 18, 2009

Walking Distance: ~ 2.1 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 1 hour, 13 minutes (5:32 - 6:45 p.m.)
Start & End Point: Street parking (legal visitor spot) on Beach Park Boulevard, Foster City, CA

Today, I finished up the asphalt path (purple line on the map above) running parallel to Port Royal Ave. and Beach Park Boulevard. I dubbed this place big bird land. There were more large egrets and herons (and many other birds) in this lagoon/slough than almost any other place on my walk to date. I actually walked past the north end of the purple line, under the Hillsdale Ave. overpass (white line on map), and kept going a big longer, before turning around and heading back to where I parked the car.

Wildlife Sightings:
4 cormorants; 3 crows; 89 ducks; 10 snowy egrets; 3 terns; 3 unidentified brownish shorebirds; 2 sea gulls; 16 great egrets; 2 great blue herons; 29 black-necked stilts; 36 coots; 1 brown pelican; 2 killdeer; 1 American avocet; 9 Canada geese; 1 mini-cormorant (under water most of the time, so difficult to study more closely); and 1 black-crowned night heron who appeared to have an egret pal (but, more likely, unwanted competition for a hunting/fishing spot).

Foster City, Swordfish to Gull - Oct. 17, 2009

Walking Distance: ~ 1.7 miles
Walking Time: ~ 1 hr. (5:00 - 6:00 p.m.)
Start & End Point: Street Parking, along Swordfish, near school, Foster City, CA

Today I had the chance to walk (on a path alongside Beach Park Boulevard) and gaze out into the Bay again, after several days of walking next to sloughs and lagoons -- all interesting in their own way.

Whoops, misplaced notes; I will have to come back and fill this entry in later.

Wildlife Sightings:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Belmont Slough, Foster City Blvd. - Oct. 16, 2009

Walking Distance: 1.55 miles
Walking Time: 50 minutes (1:42 - 2:32 p.m.)
Start & End Point: Parked Southwest of Foster City Blvd., Foster City, CA

I stopped to buy some mango juice at an Asian market off Foster City Boulevard before walking this afternoon. After a few days of cooler weather, it felt hot. The Death March Index was still relatively low (only a 5 or 6 out of 10). My whining here is vaguely relevant because the more uncomfortable I am, the less I'm likely to notice around me. (Better sun than snow or sleet, any day.)

And so, I went right on identifying, and mis-identifying, the wildlife listed below. I can't yet distinguish between the dozen or more similar-looking, brownish shorebirds including curlews, godwits, plovers, sandpipers, yellowlegs, and others. So, my apologies to all these birds. Ditto on smaller, brownish songbird-sized birds, aka little brown jobs, who tend to dart around too quickly.

Wildlife Sightings:
6 snowy egrets; 1 great blue heron; 10 unidentified brownish shorebirds; 7 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 crow; 8 pigeons; and 14 snails.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Belmont Slough/Foster City - to green bench - Oct. 15, 2009

Walking Distance: 3.61 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr, 30 minutes (5:35 - 7:05 p.m.)
Start & End Point: Island Park parking lot, across street from Oracle, near Highway 101

This evening I was able to hike a few miles before it got dark. That last, golden hour of light before sunset made for nice colors and pictures. Although it also made it a bit harder to pick up those always challenging-to-identify brownish shorebirds. (Are those godwits? yellowlegs? sandpipers? willets or whippets? Oh wait a minute, those are dogs. I did see several dogs strolling with their owners this evening.) I have a lot to learn. I really need to buy a birdbook and a pair of field glasses/binoculars. I walked past Sea Cloud Park, and turned around at a green bench with a dedication plaque to Mike McGuire, a city employee.

Wildlife Sightings:
3 sea gulls; 31 unidentified brownish shorebirds; 14 little brown jobs (LBJs); 5 snowy egrets; 7 crows; 30 American Avocets; 27 ducks; 3 Canada geese; 2 black-necked stilts; 1 rabbit; 1 brown pelican flying overhead; and 1 great blue heron flying overhead.

Belmont, O'Neil Sloughs; Oct. 14, 2009

Walking Distance: ~ 2.5 miles (guesstimate)
Walking Time: 1 hour, 35 min. (4:30 - 6:05 p.m.)
Start & End Point: Island Park, across street from Oracle, near Highway 101

We had our first big storm of the season, with lots of wind and rain yesterday. Today, the Belmont Slough looked empty; however, as I walked further (toward O'Neill Slough (sp?)), I saw a very large number of egrets (great and snowy), crowned herons, and all sorts of birds. I wasn't sure how far I could walk this part of the trail (shown as a purple line here) before finding a bridge and being able to cross over to walk the opposite shore (no line shown here on opposite shore, but there is a path). Answer: you have to go up to Hillsdale Blvd. before there is any kind of crossing or bridge. I'll check that out later. In the meantime, it was great to find such a treasure trove of birds. (Oh look, an egret on a duck.)

Wildlife Sightings:
2 great blue herons; 14 great egrets and 15 snowy egrets; 4 black-crowned night herons; 3 crows; 6 Canada geese (on Twin Dolphin Drive - blocking traffic); 12 black-necked stilts; 20 ducks; 1 dragonfly; 1 ground squirrel; 10 little brown jobs (LBJs); and 10 unidentified brownish shore birds.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Redwood Shores -> Belmont - Oct. 10, 2009

Walking Distance: 2.31 miles
Walking Time: 1 hour, 12 minutes (2:00 - 3:12 p.m.)
Start & End Point: Island Park, across the street from Oracle headquarters, near Highway 101 and the border of Redwood Shores and Belmont, CA

My intention was to park at Island Park, and cross the slough to walk the loop (above Oracle loop) shown (with a red line) on the map. However, I ended up meandering around quite a bit. (It's always a good idea to take map with you.) And, like most wanderings, there are occasional nice rewards for doing so. I overlapped with some of the loop shown, but I'll need to go back and cover the rest.

Wildlife Sightings: 1 rabbit; 2 great blue herons; 7 killdeer flying overhead; 1 sea gull; 1 black-necked stilt; 2 ground squirrels on lawns and 1 "regular?" squirrel (is there a difference between tree and ground squirrels?); 3 crows; 2 ducks; 1 hawk; 5 doves; 2 coots; 2 skippers; 3 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 tiny little brownish shorebird skittering around cement edge of man-made pond/lagoon; 4 snowy egrets; and 4 unidentified brownish shore birds in mud, near egrets.

Redwood Shores - Twin Dolphin Dr. - Oct. 10, 2009

Walking Distance: 3.36 miles
Walking Time: 1 hour, 26 min. (12:27 - 1:53 p.m.)
Start & End Point: Island Park, across street from Oracle headquarters, by Highway 101

I almost skipped the Twin Dolphin Drive part of the trail, as this street appeared to be lined with office parks and not very much water or Bay; however there was a nice lagoon with some bird life, and some picturesque views.

Wildlife Sightings: 1 cormorant; 4 little brown jobs (LBJs) + 1 mockingbird; 1 sea gull; 30 Canada geese; 9 ducks in lagoon; 1 coot in lagoon; 22 crows; 5 skippers; 1 dragonfly; and 4 little brown birds in lagoon going under water for long periods (that looked like miniature cormorants).

Friday, October 9, 2009

Loop around Oracle - Oct. 8, 2009

Walking Distance: 2.85 miles
Walking Time: 52 minutes (6:00 - 6:52 p.m.)
Start & End Point: Parking near intersection of Bridge Parkway and Island Drive, Redwood Shores, CA

In this second walk segment today, I walked along the slough and around Oracle (Parkway). The sun was setting as I finished my walk around the Oracle glass-encased towers. There were several murders (what a great name for a group) of crows filling the sky around the Oracle complex and surrounding waterways. It looked very much like the flying monkeys scene from the movie "The Wizard of Oz."

Wildlife Sightings: 10 sea gulls; 2 cormorants; 50 crows; 8 snowy egrets and 2 great egrets; 167 Canada geese (on Oracle lawns - one hissed when I walked too close on the path); ~ 40 little unidentified brown shorebirds on mud/water's edge; 6 ducks flying overhead + 30 in the water; 1 coot; and 2 little fawn/mouse-colored, white-fronted geese with yellow legs and beaks.

Redwood Shores - Radio/Canvasback/Shearwater - Oct. 8, '09

Walking Distance: 2.21 miles
Walking Time: 50 minutes (4:38 - 5:28 p.m.)
Start & End Point: Shore Dogs Park, Redwood Shores, CA

On today's walk, I repeated and walked some extra ground, just to walk on a few bits of trails I might have missed before. I parked at Shore Dogs Park, and admired the birds across the street in the lagoon, and then walked down Radio Road, until I reached the intersection with Redwood Shores. At this point I walked down the public path to the public parking lot off Canvasback Way. I turned left onto Canvasback Way, left on Shearwater, and left on Redwood Shores Parkway, then back to my car at Shore Dogs Park -- where I'd spotted about 90+% of the birds listed below.

Wildlife Sightings: 20 sea gulls; 20 ducks; 2 white pelicans and 1 brown one (flying overhead); 10 unidentified brown shorebirds + 8 with very long bills; 8 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 cormorant perched on tower; 15 black-necked stilts; 15 American Avocets; 2 Canada geese crossing the street (one limping). I had only an (expired) disposable camera with me this evening; so I doubt I'll have any pictures worth posting.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Redwood Shores - Marine Pkwy - Oct. 7, 2009

Walking Distance: 5.78 miles
Walking Time: 1 hour, 15 min. (4:10 - 6:25 p.m.)
Start & End Point: Parking lot, near intersection of Island Drive & Bridge Parkway (within sight of Oracle buildings)

Today I made three loops in one long walk. First, I walked along the Belmont slough toward the Bay, intending to walk back toward Canvasback Way where I'd finished previously. However, I ended up inadvertently hiking further out into the Bay along the gray dotted line area. This dirt trail eventually curved back around and brought me near where I'd finished a few days ago. I retraced my steps along this trail, and emerged near Salt Court onto Marine Parkway, which turned into Shearwater Parkway, and walked back along Shearwater, past Canvasback Way, as far as Mindanao Drive. I then walked back again to the car, along a different trail along Belmont slough during part of the final stretch. Yes, you're right, this is confusing.

Wildlife Sightings: 5 snowy egrets, 5 great egrets; 44 black-necked stilts; 29 little brown jobs (LBJs); 13 cormorants; 22 ducks; 1 snake (gopher or sharp tailed?) ~13" long; ~42 killdeer; ~ 5 sandpipers; 3 UFO brown shorebirds; 24 crows; 2 rabbits

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Redwood Shores - Canvasback Wy. - Oct. 6, 2009

Walking Distance: 1.53 miles (3,140 steps)
Walking Time: 1 hour (3:08 - 4:08 p.m.)
Start & End Point: Parking off Canvasback Way, Redwood Shores, CA

Gradually making my way around Redwood Shores, today I picked up where I had left off a few days ago, at an elevated observation platform with benches and a view of the San Mateo bridge.

I retired my $7.00 flip flop sandals I'd been wearing since mid-May. The little multi-colored beads on top of one of them started to come loose. I upgraded to a pair of $18 Teva flip flops at the San Carlos REI outdoor store, and bought a new shirt. Walking is a wonderfully inexpensive sport. These shoe and shirt upgrades I made today are comfortable, but optional.

I spotted both a kingfisher (bird) and also a sea lion or seal (too far away to check out ear shape). That was fun. Unfortunately, the still image of a mysterious smallish, brownish head sticking out of the water wasn't that impressive, and didn't capture the sounds of it breathing/snuffling. I did capture an egret on the roof of a house, a bee enjoying a bright pink flower, a few flowers with no bee (because it had already flown away), that kind of thing.

Wildlife Sightings: 3 crows; 5 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 great egret and 4 snowy egrets; 10 American avocets; approximately 80 unidentified brown shore birds (flying too far away to see); 1 sea lion or seal; 1 brown pelican and 1 tern (both diving from the sky for a fish dinner); 2 hummingbirds; 1 skipper butterfly; 1 kingfisher (bird); 1 small gray grasshopper.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Redwood Shores - Shore Dogs Park onward - Oct. 1, '09

Walking Distance(s): 2.63 miles total
1.) .8 mile
2.) 1.83 miles
Walking Time(s):
1.) 20 min. (5:46 - 6:06 p.m.)
2.) 44 min. (6:11 - 6:55 p.m.)
Start & End Point(s):
1.) Shore Dogs Park
2.) Public parking lot at other end of Radio Road

On the first leg of tonight's walk, I ambled from Shore Dogs Park, alongside the Wastewater Treatment Plant, to the end of the trail (red line on map) to gate with closed sign. Salt marsh mice and clapper rail birds are trying to make a recovery here on the other side of the fence. The pre-sunset light and view of ducks and other birds on the large pond nearby was great. However, along with some less wonderful smells, I was engulfed in a cloud of small gnats that were flying at ankle-to-eyeball level; and I had to walk around what looked like a lost carpet on the trail. There also seemed to be a brown haze/cloud hovering over part of the Bay, perhaps due to a fire somewhere. Each walk is full of new discoveries.

For the second leg of tonight's walk, I drove down to the other end of Radio Road, and parked in a public parking lot, and followed the trail (red line) closest to the Bay to the second public viewing platform (nearest to the intersection of Canvasback Way and Seabrook Court). From this raised observation area, I could see the San Mateo bridge, and the San Francisco skyline is growing closer each time I get a view of it. It was getting dark, but I was treated to a big moon starting to take shape, and a semi-silhouette view of a great blue heron on top of a chimney, on my way back to my car. Sadly, my camera was sitting at home. I'd left my house in a hurry, hoping to beat rush hour traffic on Highway 101 and to squeeze this walk in.

Combined Wildlife Sightings:
43 ducks; 14 little brown jobs (LBJs); 7 sea gulls; 2 American avocets; 15 black-necked stilts; 1 great egrets and 4 snowy egrets; 2 great blue herons; 4 brownish shorebirds (whimbrels or willets); an uncountable number of gnats; 1 unidentifiable blur in the bushes.

Redwood Shores - to Shore Dogs Park - Sept. 30, '09

Walking Distance: 1.96 miles
Walking Time: 52 minutes of walking + 17 min. break at dog park (2:40 - 3:49 p.m.)
Start & End Point: Visitor Parking, end of Dockside Circle

We (two women and a dog) had sunny, beautiful weather for a walk today along Steinberger Slough to Shore Dogs Park on Radio Road. As before, there were a lot of birds out in the slough that I couldn't identify or count because they were too far away.

Wildlife Sightings: 1 grasshopper; 4 dragonflies; 2 great blue herons; 1 great egret and 2 snowy egrets; 20 ducks; 5 sea gulls; 1 cormorant; and 1 crow.