Sunday, July 24, 2011

Apay Way trail: July 24, 2011

Walking Distance: 3.24 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 29 min. (5:07 - 6:36 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Parking area, near Marshlands Rd., Coyote Hills Regional Park (south end), Fremont?, CA

Late this afternoon/early evening, I walked from parking space near Marshlands Rd. to the Highway 84 overcrossing/bridge to the North side of Coyote Hills Regional Park, passing a large open pit quarry along the way, that was filled with a pool of green water at the bottom.  I followed this unpaved trail to the end/start of Apay Way trail (east of "No Name Trail") -- then back to my car the same way.

A small group of snowy egrets were still hopping around a bit (must be breeding season); a (California King) snake absorbing a bit of sun on the trail quickly disappeared into the grass when it sensed I was approaching; and a minute later I was looking at a great blue heron standing perfectly still - the silent hunter -- standing in yellow-green algae.

9 sea gulls; 3 bumblebees; 2 doves; 2 little brown jobs (LBJs); 3 white pelicans; 3 blurs in bushes (BIBs); 5 terns; 7 dragonflies; 4 unidentified flying bugs (UFBs); 4 snowy egrets; 1 feral or wildcat of some type; 1 duck; 1 California king snake; 1 light-colored moth/butterfly; 6 swallows

Angel Island - July 23, '11

Walking Distance: 5.3 miles
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 12 min. (12:02 - 2:20 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Angel Island Ferry Stop (Ayala Cove)

Thank you to Alec who joined me in this trip to Angel Island today. This afternoon we started from the Ferry stop in Ayala Cove, on Angel Island, and walked around the perimeter loop trail around the island and back to the ferry station in Ayala Cove. We experienced a fairly typical weather pattern -- overcast in the morning, and sunny later in the afternoon.

For hikers, the most direct way from the ferry stop to the beginning of the perimeter trail is to head straight and to the left when you disembark, past the restrooms, and up a few sets of stairs and a hill. (Bikers have a separate path.) Unless you choose to take the trail up to the top of Mt. Livermore, with the exception of one other fairly steep hill, the trail is relatively flat.

Technically Angel Island is not part of the main Bay Trail. However, the island is shown as a connector/connecting trail (solid purple line) on the Bay Trail Map (Marin sectional map) -- and it is well worth visiting if you get the chance.

There are some unique historic points of interest, old/abandoned buildings, and scenic views of San Francisco, the back side of Alcatraz, and of Tiburon, that you would not normally get to see. And if you take the Ferry, you'll also get a unique perspective on the other parts of the overall Bay Trail landscape.

For hiking more than two hours, there was not a huge amount of wildlife to report, but that also may have had to do with large numbers of people on the island on this summer weekend day (Saturday). In addition to picnic and barbeque areas, visitors can take a covered shuttle or segway tour of the island, or bring or rent bicycles to take their own two-wheeled adventure. Skates, skateboards -- and dogs are not allowed in this state park.

Walking at a relatively brisk pace (which limited picture taking and rest stops), we had just enough time to walk this loop trail in a few hours, and grab something to go from the cafe near the ferry stop, before having to line up for our boat back to Alameda. Another hour would have been nice to explore and visit the immigration station site.

Wildlife Sightings:
1 blue jay; 2 crows; 1 kite (bird); 2 turkey vultures; 1 bumblebee; 2 sea gulls; 8 Canada geese.

Cushing Parkway, cont. - July 21, '11

Walking Distance: 3.0 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 8 min. (8:28 - 9:36 p.m.)
Start and End Point: parking lot, near McDonalds, 4101 Cushing Parkway (intersection with Fremont Blvd.), Fremont, CA

It was a warm evening for tonight's walk along the remaining (south-most) stretch of Cushing Parkway. I started from the intersection of Cushing Parkway and Fremont Blvd. and walked north on Cushing (shown as double red lines on the Bay Trail Map) as far as Bunche Drive. At the two ends of this stretch of Cushing Parkway were commercial buildings/businesses. But a large stretch of open space, and what looked to be ranchland, took up the middle part of this walk. The sidewalk along Cushing was lit by streetlights, enabling me to finish walking after dark.

When I started this walk, the sun was setting, and a few crickets were chirping. Once the buildings thinned out, it was still light enough to see a herd of cows off in the distance toward the Bay. By the time that I reached the beginning of the row of well-lit automotive dealers (intersection between Cushing Parkway and Bunche Drive), it was completely dark.

The dead of night offers opportunities to see animals and birds not normally seen during daylight hours. On the way up to Bunche, I noticed a bird scolding some moving objects off to the side of the road and saw two gray foxes; and, on the walk back I was relieved when a small skunk dashed away from the sidewalk where I was walking, and not toward the sidewalk. I was able to see what I believe were two owls flying over a field. I'm including a few blurry night photos -- of the two gray foxes and one of a large praying mantis bug atop a large sage bush - that was in motion when this shot was snapped. More examples of the challenges of capturing images of shy critters at night (on the go, without a tripod).

Wildlife Sightings:
1 unidentified flying bug (UFB); 10 swallows; 12 Canada geese;
35 cows; 2 gray foxes; 2 blurs in bushes; 1 small skunk; 2 owls? flying across field; 1 large praying mantis; 2 small moths.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cherry St., Auto Mall - July 19, '11

Walking Distance: 4.6 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 52 min. (7:15 - 9:07 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Intersection of Cherry St. and Buena Vista, Newark, CA

Tonight's stroll took me from Cherry Street in Newark to Boyce Road in Fremont and beyond, through the Auto Mall Parkway area (where many automobile dealerships were located) to the start of Cushing Parkway.

Most of this little journey was accomplished by walking on sidewalks. However, there was a long stretch of Boyce Rd., north of Auto Mall Parkway, where sidewalks switched sides of the road, or disappeared altogether -- making numerous crossings necessary across a busy street, unless you are willing to walk in the bicycle lanes. This stretch probably should be classified as double yellow lines on the map. Fine for bicycles, but not so for pedestrians.

This area was, from what I could see, with the exception of an apartment complex and a development off Buena Vista, almost all light industrial and commercial property. The Bay was not really visible from this walk, but its general location further west (judging from the few small creeks I crossed that were flowing toward it) was fairly obvious. 

Wildlife consisted of a handful of birds -- some, like the small groups of sea gulls I was, were flying high overhead.

On the walk back to my car, I enjoyed a sunset -- that illuminated, and silhouetted, various objects: transformers/electrical towers, building, rows of trees, etc.

1 screw; 1 brown snail; 1 crow; 34 sea gulls; 5 small, white-ish moths or butterflies; 4 swallows; 20 starlings; 1 mockingbird; 2 doves; and 1 giant concentrated glob of ants on the edge of the sidewalk.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Coyote Hills - Shoreline S. - July 17, '11

Walking Distance: 8.89 miles total (5.44 miles of new Bay Trail)
Walking Time: 3 hrs., 25 min. (4:12 - 7:37 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Coyote Hills Regional Park parking lot, Fremont, CA

Today was a game of beat the clock -- I arrived late to Coyote Hills Regional Park, with high hopes of hiking the southern part of the Shoreline Trail (solid red line on Bay Trail map), and maybe if I had time, part of another trail.

The reality: I was walking against fairly strong headwinds for at least half the way -- while walking out (west on) No Name Trail (solid red line on map) and the southern part of the Shoreline Trail (that extends down to the Dumbarton Bridge/Marshlands Road).

I hustled, not stopping to take too many pictures, and made it out of the park by closing time (8 p.m. this summer). No time to walk any other trail. Coyote Hills on the Bay side, is a very scenic place to be during the golden hour(s) before sunset; so skipping the photo-taking was a challenge. I didn't see another soul (except for a few sea gulls who hovered above me and appeared to be looking for food) on this long trail while I was out today -- perhaps because I was walking it late in the day.

There were lots of white pelicans, terns, egrets and other bird life. Other than ground squirrels, I didn't see any other animals, or reptiles. The ground squirrels made their homes (burrows) in the farthest
 reaches of both No Name and Shoreline trails -- in the tufted, dried mud lining both trails -- surrounded by water and/or old salt ponds on both sides. The landscape of plants consisted mainly of little clumps of green and red salt-loving plants (with tiny salt crystals on their "branches,") some grasses, and algae.

5 ground squirrels; 29 sea gulls; 1 hawk/kestrel/falcon; 14 ducks; 12 swallows; 8 snowy egrets, 2 great egrets; 19 terns; 12 white pelicans; 40 small unidentified brownish shorebirds (UBB)s; 4 cormorants; 6 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 unidentified flying bug; 2 plovers/killdeer; 1 white butterfly, 1 small blue butterfly, 4 small/tiny whiteish ones; 1 small black beetle; 3 American Avocets

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cherry St., Continued - July 14, '11

Walking Distance: 2.8 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 10 min. (6:41 - 7:51 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Near intersection of Smith Ave. and Manzanita St. (off Cherry St.), Newark, CA

This evening I continued my journey south along Cherry Street, a relatively major street (shown as double red lines on the Bay Trail Map) with a sidewalk running along the east side. I've caught no glimpse of the San Francisco Bay the last few days, but this long, straight stretch of road looked good for bicyclists. I saw what looked like a training ride in progress whizz past me, before I had the chance to photograph them.

From my starting point near Smith Ave. and Cherry St., I first walked north up to Central Ave., then turned around and walked south to Ohlone College, before walking back to Smith Ave.

There wasn't much in the way of wildlife in this urban stretch. A few birds fluttered by overhead. But, there were flowers growing by the roadside and over the wall that bordered the sidewalk. Nice landscaping: citrus fruits (lemons in this case) flowing over the top of the wall alongside pink roses. And purple blossoms littering the sidewalk.

3 sea gulls; 1 hubcap; 7 crows; 1 starling

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Newark - Thornton - July 12, '11

Walking Distance: 3.4 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 5 min. (7:36 - 8:41 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Street parking along Thornton Ave., Newark, CA

Tonight I walked the remaining segment of Thornton Ave., in Newark, CA (shown as double yellow lines on the Bay Trail Map), as well as the beginning of Cherry Street (from the intersection of Cherry and Thornton to the intersection of Cherry and Central -- shown as double red lines on map). I was able to amble along on sidewalks during most all of this route.

This walk ran by small businesses, homes and apartments. A few houses had "Beware of Dogs" signs posted on their front gates. One of these signs caused me to scan the yard; as a walker, this is almost instinctive -- I want to anticipate any dogs rushing up to me. However, all I was able to see through the fence were two goats. (It's probably more difficult to find a sign that says "Beware of Goats.") Another gardener had created a fence around his yard in the form of neat rows of corn and greens. The goats and the corn impressed me, because this was such an urban, developed area, with relatively small yards.

I passed two taquerias, a Mexican restaurant, a few chain restaurants, two Chinese restaurants, mini marts, and a few bars, but did not have time to stop and sample any food or beverage items this evening. Regarding wildlife, birds and critters were a little less numerous with all these paved surfaces; however, I spotted several sea gulls flying overhead, passing through the area at high altitude.

11 sea gulls; 2 goats; 1 domestic cat; 1 little brown job; 1 couch

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Newark - Willow St. - July 11, '11

Walking Distance: 4 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 37 min. (6:50 - 8:27 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Willow Place and Willow St., Newark, CA

This evening I walked through an industrial park/commercial area (depicted as double yellow lines on the Bay Trail Map). I figured out later I could have walked this as a loop, had I filled in the gap on Central Ave. (between the Railroad tracks and Cherry St.). Ah well.

From the intersection of Willow Place and Willow Street, I walked up a short distance to Thornton Av. and proceeded West on Thornton to Peachtree/beginning of the divider or island on Thornton, then I turned around. I walked back (east) on Thornton, and turned right on Willow St. When I got to the end of Willow, I turned left on Central Av. to just past the railroad tracks (in front of Henry Pocket Fences, 6995 Central Av., Newark, CA). I retraced my steps and walked back to the car from there. 

On the drive over to Newark it seemed pretty warm; however, during this walk it clouded over and cooled off. I didn't think I was cold, until I stopped to log some birds in my logbook; then my fingers were so stiff, that I could barely write/scratch out some numbers.

10 ducks (8 = ducklings); 1 turkey vulture; 3 doves; 2 swallows; 13 starlings; 5 crows; 3 mockingbirds; 2 rusty screws; 1 snowy egret; 16 sea gulls; 6 brown snails

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thornton Ave. - July 4, 2011

Walking Distance: 4.8 miles
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 1 min. (6:39 - 8:40 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Intersection of Jarvis Ave. and Gateway Blvd., Newark, CA

This evening I walked along Gateway Blvd., Thornton Ave., and Paseo Padre Parkway -- from Newark, into Fremont -- and then back down Thornton, back down into Newark and past the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge turn-off area until I reached the beginning of a residential development.

Most of this walk (shown as double red lines on Bay Trail Map) was along wide, tree-shaded sidewalks (along Gateway and Paseo Padre Parkway), along light industrial/commercial buildings and open spaces; although a fairly long portion of Thornton Ave. (shown as double yellow lines on map) had narrower sidewalks, or just an unpaved shoulder area for walking.

Tonight was 4th of July, and I could hear crickets and the distant sounds of illegal fireworks (accompanied by a few small puffs of smoke rising above the trees, houses and fields) in Fremont and Newark. As in many places, these whistles and pops were were happening despite the signs posted everywhere warning against illegal fireworks (in part due to high fire danger).

However, most of the birds and wildlife I spotted along this corridor, near the Coyote Hills, seemed fairly unreactive to the fireworks and celebrations in the distance.

Wildlife Sightings:
5 red-winged blackbirds; 12 doves; 12 crows; 21 little brown jobs (LBJs); 9 sea gulls; 3 ground squirrels; 3 mockingbirds; 1 hummingbird; 3 black-crowned night herons; 3 robins; 1 turkey vulture; 1 finch; 4 pigeons; 1 dragonfly; 1 pillbug; 2 small dust-colored moths; 1 kite (bird); 4 starlings; 7 swallows; 1 great blue heron; 1 large black beetle; and 1 cloud/area of ankle to eyeball gnats.