Sunday, June 8, 2008

Palo Alto Baylands revisited

Last year, in June, my husband and I visited the Palo Alto Baylands for the first time. It's a really good place to go birding, and easily accessible. This year, we decided to make an earlier visit, so we went in May, on Memorial Day weekend. One of the things I missed last year was the location where the Black-crowned Night herons were nesting. I had been told they were around the ranger station which is one place we had missed. So this year I wanted to be sure to check out the area around the ranger station and see if I could find any nesting BCN herons. While approaching the ranger station area I found this beautiful plant called statice growing in the garden area. Be sure to click on the photos to get a larger view.
Here is a close-up of the flowers.
While walking around we could hear some birds making a ruckus, but at first I couldn't see them. Then my husband pointed to the top of some trees where we could see a few Black-crowned Night herons. The nests were very difficult to find because it seems they nest in very dense-leaved trees. Nonetheless, one could certainly hear them. I couldn't get any photos of the nests or the birds in the nest because it was so shady and it was too dark for taking decent photos.
Here is a close up of a pair.
I also saw lots of snowy egrets nesting near the duck pond. There is a fenced off area with signage saying "Migratory Bird Sanctuary." The snowy egrets seemed to nest in a different spot this year. Last year they nested in the two palm trees closest to the fenced area. This year they seem to be nesting farther back. I will post those photos next time.


jan m said...

What neat-looking birds!

Shellmo said...

Love the night herons- kind of remind me of penguins!

mon@rch said...

I would have loved to see those Snowy Egrets!

Lynne said...

Those night herons are cool sitting up in a tree like that. My German MIL grows statice in her gardens. I guess it's a popular garden flower back in German town where she lived. She dries it and uses it in floral arrangements.

KGMom said...

Wonderful photos of flowers and birds.
Always such fun to read blogs from elsewhere (from where I am) in the country, and see the new (to me) birds.

Ruth said...

Beautiful pictures. We have Black-crowned Night Herons around here, but I haven't seen any myself yet.

Mary said...

Night Herons! Wonderful, Mary. Lifers for me. Great flowers and birds. Lucky you :o)

Mary C said...

Jan - thank you.

Shelley - now that you mentioned it, I guess they could remind us of penguins. I never thought of that before. Well, at least these birds fly (unlike penguins) at a higher elevation. But now that I mentioned that, I've only seen these birds in perched positions. ;o)

Hey Monarch - check out my latest post. You will see the snowy egrets. Unfortunately the photos this year are not as impressive as last year. And that's because the birds were farther away this year.

Hi Lynne - these are one of the few birds that are large enough, and sit/perched long enough for one to get a decent photo of them. They certainly are photogenic and cooperative. I forgot that statice is good for dried flower arrangements. I used to grow it and dried some of it, but I've given that up in the past few years. No time for gardening anymore, my retired husband is the gardener now.

Hi Donna - glad you enjoyed these "different" plants and birds than your usual sights.

Hi Ruth - thank you. I would think you will eventually see some BCnight herons. And when you do, I hope you can capture a photo or two of them.

Mary - thank you. One of these days we'll have to visit each other's home so we can add a few more lifers on our so-called lists. ;o)

Red said...

I've seen them fly... even tried to take a picture of them flying. Of course they all turned out blurry because then I didn't know the proper setting to catch them in flight.

RuthieJ said...

Looks like a cool place for birding Mary! I saw a Black Crowned Night Heron last week in North Dakota for the first time--a very pretty bird.

Mary said...

I forgot to add that I'd love for my husband to visit hot birding spots like yours does :o) One of these days, I'd ride the golf cart with him and we'll both admire the GB Heron. LOL!

Mary C said...

Red - does that mean you can capture them in flight now without them looking blurry?

Hi Ruthie - yes, it is a cool birding spot. If you should come in this direction some day, we can go birding there together.

Hey Mary - I like the idea of a golf cart! But I think I'll leave that for when I get older. Right now I can still walk fine and heaven knows I need to walk more. ;o)

Prasad said...

Mary, Thanks for the ID on the flowers, I took a picture of this same flower but didn't know their name until I read your post.

Here is a link to mine..

Red said...

Red - does that mean you can capture them in flight now without them looking blurry?

I wouldn't say ALL the time, but more often than not now! I wish I had another chance at a turkey vulture coming right at me. That picture would have been so cool if it was in focus.


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