Tuesday, August 16, 2011

McCarthy Ranch, Coyote Creek - Aug. 13, '11

Walking Distance: 5 miles
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 20 min. (4:35 - 6:55 p.m.)
Start and End Point: McCarthy Ranch, shopping center parking lot, near In and Out Burger, Milpitas, CA

What a great Saturday: a quick stop at the Chocolate Garage in Palo Alto, a visit with friends, a walk on a new trail that I never knew existed behind a large shopping center, and a stop on the way home to replace another pair of worn-out shoes with new ones at REI. Walking the Bay Trail requires very little investment other than, perhaps, a good pair of shoes if you want to go for maximum mileage. I have managed to go through about six pairs of shoes and flip flops during my circumnavigation of San Francisco Bay.

So, back to the walk. Once I found the entry point to this trail off N. McCarthy Blvd./McCarthy Ranch, I headed north on this trail (shown as a solid, red line on Bay Trail map), and followed it past small gardens with rows of corn and vegetables, open fields (with hares racing between small scrubby patches of grass), and over a small overcrossing/bridge (where the trail merges with N. McCarthy Blvd. once more), until I reached (the end of) Dixon Landing Road -- more specifically the entrance gate to Newby Island Landfill.

Having turned around, I proceeded to walk back
the way I came, and continued on south (past my starting point) to the
overpass/undercrossing (where Coyote Creek crosses under Highway 237).

I was alerted to the presence of a predator in the area by the shrill cries of a ground squirrel near the trail. There was a gray, feral (but very healthy looking) cat with a bobtail, crouching in the shadows near the squirrel burrows. After the walk, I headed back to the car and to find some dinner myself.

Note: Make sure to bring water if you're walking this during a hot, summer day. There is very little tree cover or shade; beating the heat is another reason why I like walking in the early evening before sunset.

Wildlife Sightings:

24 little brown jobs (LBJs); 14 pigeons; 15 white butterflies + 10 other butterflies: 4 black and yellow, 3 orange and black, 3 misc. butterflies; 4 ground squirrels; 9 doves; 2 starlings; 4 sea gulls; 2 finches; 2 hares; 5 dragonflies; 2 red-winged blackbirds; 1 turkey vulture; 58 Canada geese; 1 feral cat; 1 lizard (medium size, dark); 1 duck; 1 snowy egret, 1 great egret; 8 white snails (3 = shells); 1 crow; 1 robin;
1 blue jay

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