Saturday, April 24, 2010

Vista Trail, Reservoir Hill, Novato - April 24, 2010

Walking Distance: 3.66 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 1 hr., 28 minutes (4:00 - 5:28 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Novato Skate Park, parking lot, Novato, CA

Today I had a chance to see how much the old Hamilton Air Force Base has changed. It took me awhile to decipher the map; I parked at the Novato skateboard park, instead of the trailhead parking lot for the Vista Trail up Reservoir Hill.  But, this extra stretch of walking gave me the opportunity to notice another trail as I walked down Hamilton Parkway -- which I explored on the way back.

The climb to the top of Reservoir Hill yielded a sweeping view of San Pablo Bay, and the hangers (now occupied by businesses), and housing below (pictured right).

It was also a good day for wildlife. Several American avocets swept their bills from side to side feeding in the shallow water (pictured right).  Canada geese had paired off (pictured right). Little brown lizards were out sunning themselves and went skittering into hiding when I approached.

There were large patches of red clover, purple lupine, and orange California poppies, and several other wildflowers in bloom.

Wildlife Sightings:
13 barn swallows; 26 little brown jobs (LBJs); 7 lizards; 2 crows; 1 ladybug; 1 white butterfly; 4 Canada geese (2 prs.); 6 red-winged blackbirds; 9 ducks; 1 unidentified flying bug; 2 swarms gnats; 3 reddish finches; 14 American Avocets; 1 unidentified brownish shorebird; 1 snail; 1 bumblebee; 1 hummingbird; lots of wildflowers; and 1 house with 13 (!) barn swallow nests under the eaves.