Saturday, September 17, 2011

Alameda Creek, cont. Sept. 16, '11

Walking Distance: 3.9 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 3 min. (4:40 - 6:43 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Isherwood Staging Area (off Isherwood Way), Alameda Creek Regional Trail, East Bay Parks Rec. Dept. (EBPRD), Fremont, CA

The walk up/east toward the headwaters of Alameda Creek continued this evening. I walked on the north side of the Alameda Creek Regional Trail, on a (primarily) packed dirt levee path from the Isherwood Staging Area public parking lot up to Niles Community Park (in the Niles district of Fremont) -- where there was a field of small children suited up and practicing football before dark.

Most of this trail is shown as a pair of purple lines (connector trail) on the Bay Trail Map.

After walking east from the Isherwood Way Staging area, and passing relatively near a few houses, the terrain became a bit more undeveloped. Trees, including pepper trees (pink peppercorns), provided intermittent shade.

This was a pleasant, evening walk, with a fair number of dog walkers, bicyclists, walkers and joggers. There were also scenic views of the Quarry Lakes along the way. Although separated from some of these lakes by a wire fence, there was an opportunity to go through a few gates to take a closer look -- and walk parallel to the Bay Trail on a packed dirt path -- for at least a half mile.

There was a steady smattering of birds, especially in the Alameda Creek Channel. In one section of the trail, a large number of turkey vultures circled overhead. A group of vultures group is called a venue, committee, wake, or -- if circling in the air, a kettle.

Regardless of what you call them, I feel a bit uneasy when I see them circling -- knowing they may be closing in on a carcass with their ultra-developed sense of smell. Fortunately, for me, all I could smell was the smell of some hickory smoke and a barbecue wafting over from a cook-out.

Out on the gravel islands in one of the Quarry Lakes, there were visible white specks (birds) of different sizes. I later determined that these "specks" included white pelicans, egrets and sea gulls. I was able to take a few pictures of these small lakes by holding my camera through or over sections of wire/barbed wire fence.

The railroad/rail bridges were marked with interesting graffiti art, and carried the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains; a few whooshed by during the time I was walking back and forth.

Wildlife Sightings:
2 blue jays; 28 ducks; 11 little brown jobs (LBJs); 56 crows; 2 butterflies (orange and brown/blk); 7 black-necked stilts; 5 snowy egrets, 1 great egret; 5 unidentified brownish shorebirds (UBBs); 3 dragonflies; 5 killdeer; 2 white pelicans; 3 cormorants (+ 2 others diving birds?); 5 turkey vultures; 1 dove; 5 Canada geese; 22 sea gulls 

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