Wednesday, July 9, 2014

John F. McInnis County Park - Dec. 11, 2013

Walking Distance: 5 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 30 min. (1:55 - 4:25 p.m.)
Starting Point: John F. McInnis County Park, parking lot

Today's walk was on unpaved, packed dirt trails in and around John F. McInnis County Park, and included a great bird-watching area -- Las Gallinas Ponds (adjacent to the park and part of Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District).

I started this walk by walking out toward Bay on unpaved trail. I stopped to walk out to a small pier (launching area for kayaks?), and then walked along the trail along the water that was part of the McInnis Park Wetland Preserve, according to a sign I passed.

The trail furthest out by the bay was adjacent to a large area of patchy, but healthy looking marsh grasses. I watched a great blue heron, a kite (bird), and some other birds of prey out in baylands either staring into the grasses intently (hunting) or making sudden grabs at tiny, unseen items (food).

Eventually I headed back toward the hills (inland) and looped back round to Las Gallinas (Wildlife) Ponds. I walked around first two ponds, (was some construction going on, and it was getting late, so turned around). I enjoyed watching ducks, white pelicans, cormorants, hawks, and several red-headed mergansers -- who were squawking at each other on a log. I thought one of the mergansers should be called Lucille Ball (a red-headed comedienne and TV star in the 1900s) for his/her antics.

I then had to find way back to my car in McInnis Park without going through the golf course (i.e. I didn't want to walk all the way out into the Baylands again, and thought I could cut through the park. However, I found myself walking up a hill via a narrow dirt path, and eventually climbing up and over the top of the hill (where there was a nice view) to a skate park and a road, that I followed back down again toward playing fields and the parking lot where my car was, near park entrance. Alls well that ends well.

Wildlife Sightings:
51 LBJs/brown sparrows; 3 great egrets, 3 snowy egrets; 1 crow; 142 RWBs / Blackbirds; 3 birds of prey -- 1 kite and 1 larger red-tailed hawk at ponds; 3 great blue herons; 36 Canada Geese; 173 ducks; 4 black-crowned night herons; 35 sea gulls; 2 white pelicans; 6 mergansers; 7 cormorants; 7 black birds with long-black tails flying over ponds late in afternoon; 10 swifts or swallows (not the orange and blue kind); 3 balls (1 golf ball); 3 grebes; 4 coots


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