Saturday, June 9, 2007

Trip to the Palo Alto Baylands

Earlier this week, Adam Paul (see his blog) visited the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve and his post inspired me to visit since it's about a 20-25 minute drive from where I live. I asked my husband if he would like to accompany me. He isn't "into birds" like I am, but he does enjoy the outdoors and walking/hiking. So we took off about 8:30 this morning, getting there about 9 a.m. The first thing we wanted to check out was the rookeries for both snowy egrets and black-crowned night herons. We parked near the Duck Pond to see what was there. We did not know that the egrets' rookery was located there. But that was quite a sight to see. Here is a shot of a small portion of the rookery. The palm trees were full of snowy egrets. I never would have thought that egrets would nest in palm trees!Below is a snowy egret in the duck pond. Check out that beautiful reflection. I wonder if he/she was admiring its beauty. :)

This egret was taking off.
And here is another shot of a snowy egret in the palm tree.Below is a picture of mama and offspring.
While standing there watching, marveling and listening to the snowy egrets I found this black-crowned night heron perched among the egrets. Isn't he handsome?
And here is a close-up shot of him. I would have loved to have seen the herons' rookery, but I didn't realize they were located near the ranger's station which we missed. Oh well, maybe next time.
Across the way, on the other side of the road, there was this American Avocet. Another handsome looking bird. We also saw a couple of black-necked stilts, but I couldn't get a decent picture of any of them.Other birds we saw but I couldn't or didn't get pictures of were: mallards, Canada geese with their goslings, Brewer's blackbirds, red-winged blackbirds, American coots, ring-billed gulls, a pair of mockingbirds, rock pigeons, and a couple of song sparrows. We also saw many cliff swallows in flight, but couldn't get any pictures of them, until we went toward the nature center. As we walked around the deck of the nature center I looked up and saw many nests with nestlings peeking out. Below is a nest with 2 little ones staring out. Aren't they cute? As Dave (my husband) and I walked out on the boardwalk toward the mud flats, about midway there was this raucous sound that came from below. It certainly startled me, and I had no idea what it was. After Dave described it, I realized it was most likely a couple of California clapper rails. Too bad I never saw them; I could have marked it down as a "lifer." Oh well, maybe another day, another time.


RuthieJ said...

Awesome pictures, Mary. Those egrets are sure beautiful birds. It must have been fun for you to see such variety. Those baby swallows are too cute!

Mary said...

Mary, you certainly had a banner day! Your photos are so crisp and gorgeous. All of them are great but I'm fond of the snowy egret. Thanks for sharing your excitement!

mon@rch said...

So many wonderful photos and I just love your shots of the Egret!! Glad to hear Adam suggested you head over to this spot!

KGMom said...

Mary--thanks for stopping by my blog.
I love all these photos of snowy egrets--such showy birds. And a palm tree full of nesting egrets. . .almost looks like the tree is blooming birds!

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Oh! Oh! Oh!....
I have looked and read and looked and read many times this morning at your Egrets! So fantastic! Wow!
Thank you!
Egrets in Palm was my favorite.
It is wonderful getting to know you.

LostRoses said...

Those are some great shots, Mary, so many snowy egrets in the palms! My husband is not a birder either, but after years of watching me watch the birds, he's gotten rather good at spotting them for me! Sounds like you had a great day.

Kate said...

These are beautiful pictures ... what a wonderful day you would have had.

Larry said...

Really nice images-I can almost feel a gentle breeze coming over me.

Barbara said...

Great bird photos! I get that empty nest feeling too. You get so used to seeing them whenever you want on a cam, then all of sudden, nothing.


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