Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mallard Slough Trail #1/2 - Aug. 19, '11

Walking Distance: 3.2 miles
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 2 min. (3:36 - 5:38 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Near SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge Environmental Education Center (EEC), end of Grand Blvd., San Jose, CA

First, thank you to Toni who joined me on this walk, and apologies to her for having to cut the walk short to rush back for an appointment. It was a happy discovery to find out that the Mallard Slough Trail trailhead was right behind the Environmental Education Center. This center had been closed the first time I stopped by in the evening after work. Happily, a guide there clued us in, and told us that the Mallard Slough Trail would be closing (perhaps for good in some spots); and that if we wanted to walk this trail, we needed to do so, "before the earth movers showed up."

So, while this good-sized (5+ mile) loop trail is not part of the Bay Trail -- it is the trail that has gotten walkers/bicyclists the closest to the old town of Drawbridge. All that's left of this settlement -- on an island area in the bay, surrounded by marsh grasses, visible from across a channel -- were some rooftops of a handful of old wooden buildings. Trains still go rumbling through this area; but at higher speeds you'd be hard pressed to see a lot, much less take any decent pictures.

Toni and I walked up the East side of this loop trail (not shown on the Bay Trail map -- but it lies just to the East of the large, 9-mile loop trail that starts at Alviso Marina County Park just to the West of this loop. This larger loop is shown as solid red line on the map at right. The two loop trails are actually joined in one spot.

We enjoyed seeing large numbers of Canada geese flying overhead at relatively close range, and many other birds, including white pelicans, ducks, and the usual assortment of gulls and shorebirds. We had to turn around just after sighting the tops of a few old Drawbridge structures in the distance (what? you can't see that tiny little wooden roof in the distance); but we got a feel of the area, and wondered how former residents would have gotten access to this area -- perhaps the train stopped there.

Wildlife Sightings:
7 black-necked stilts; 6 cormorants; 41 Canada geese; 4 white butterflies; 1 bumblebee; 5 little brown jobs (LBJs); 71 sea gulls; 3 dragonflies; 35 tiny unidentified brownish shorebirds (UBBs), 5 med-small UBBs; 52 white pelicans; 3 jackrabbits; 2 ducks; 2 terns; 10 great egrets, 22 snowy egrets; 1 great blue heron; 2 turkey vultures; 2 ground squirrels; 1 small lizard; 1 unidentified flying bug (UFB)

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