Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Palo Alto Baylands - Dec. 24, '11

Walking Distance: 2.6 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 55 min. (9:30 - 11:25 a.m.)
Start and End Point: Public parking spots along Terminal Blvd. (end of San Antonio Rd.), Mountain View, CA

Today was my last day in Mountain View. I took my first walk (of three shorter segments) into and around the Palo Alto Baylands, following "red line" trails (on the Bay Trail map).

From Terminal Blvd., I first walked toward Shoreline Park/Lake, and then turned around and walked north, out toward the Bay, then behind Elwell Court.

There were lots of hunkered down ducks, balletic American avocets (without their rust colored throat color in winter), and other birds out this morning. The faint sound of hunters gunfire in the distance is also a little unsettling this time of year (winter is hunting season). I spotted what I thought might have have been some plastic produce bags up into a tree. Nope. They were black-crowned night herons. That was fun to see them, although they were too far away for me to get a good shot of them.

I eventually popped out onto a paved (asphalt) bike and walking trail along East Bayshore, and I walked north along this trail. Marsh grasses and SF Bay to the right, and the sound of the freeway (Highway 101) to the left (beyond E. Bayshore). The licorice-like smell of fresh fennel was in the air. I walked across the first of two small Town and Country wood plank and metal frame bridges, and passed the James Moore sculpture entitled "Bliss in the Moment" -- a metal statue of a bicyclist stopping to take in the bay view.

I also walked by some photovoltaic arrays and, according to an interpretive sign "photovoltaics (PV) converts light energy into electricity, using no moving parts....photons are absorbed by a silicon crystal cell..." I, as a walker, convert chocolate into energy, using several moving parts, and enjoy absorbing photons (sunlight) along the way. Silly to compare the two, but I do like photons -- and seeing solar energy being used by the City of Palo Alto.

I turned around when I reached the point where the Adobe Creek Loop Trail intersected with East Bayshore. If I'd turned right on this trail, toward the Bay, I would have walked approximately 1.9 miles to Byxbee Park. I know this, because I accidentally walked this trail last week.

Wildlife Sightings:
5 cormorants; 32 sea gulls; 44 little brown jobs (LBJs); 33 coots; 59 ducks; 20 American Avocets; 4 black-necked stilts; 43 unidentified brownish shorebirds (5 tiny ones); 2 great egrets, 2 snowy egrets; 4 brown pelicans,10 white pelicans; 1 great blue heron; 7 black-crowned night herons; 1 ball; 9 Canada geese; 3 hummingbirds; 1 killdeer; 9 crows; 2 hawks/falcons

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