Sunday, October 25, 2015

Hamilton to Las Gallinas Ponds - Feb. 17, 2014

Walking Distance: 4 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 8 min. (2:05 - 4:13 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Parking lot, end of Hamilton Ave.

In this late afternoon walk, I got lost once, but I did reach Las Gallinas area eventually.

The ponds are part of the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District, and are a rich haven for birds and wildlife. They're a great place to take bird photos.

Trails on this walk ranted from newly rolled, wide packed dirt and gravel to more narrow dirt trail with very short stretches of asphalt. Access can be a bit confusing if you're coming from the north.

I started this walk from a parking lot (near a playing field area—Palmisano Community Play Park) near the SE end of Hangar Ave./Calienta Real, at the south end of the old Hamilton Air Force Base in Novato. From here I headed south along the Bay. This section of trail opened recently, and was newly rolled, and nice and broad; however, it narrowed further south.

I had to cross through an area that included a small section of trail that was still "planned" (shown as a dotted line on the Bay Trail map). However, unaware of this, I continued to walk until I reached some hills and a golf course, and eventually found my way around the golf course to a road and to Las Gallinas Ponds entrance.

There were some nice views of Mt. Tamalpais on the way. And winter rains afforded some refreshing green areas.

I enjoyed seeing the solar collectors (arrays) near Las Gallinas Ponds. Next time, I'll get here earlier to see more birds up close. Winter days end too quickly.

Wildlife Sightings:
7 white pelicans; 1 white swan; 32 little brown jobs (LBJs), mostly sparrows; 3 black-necked stilts; 6 turkey vultures; 5 Canada geese; 16 ducks (mallard pair, 6 shovelers, others); 1 phoebe; 2 swifts/swallows (closer to black and white - not orange and blue); 1 hawk/bird of prey, 1 Harrier with white rump patch; 1 snowy egret, 1 great egret; 2 balls (yellow bowling ball + 1 rubber ball); 2 crows


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