Saturday, November 8, 2008

Another visit to Palo Alto Baylands - part 1

Early in October Red and I went to Palo Alto Baylands to see what was there and what we would find interesting enough to photograph. I found that I had so many photos to post I decided to split this trip in two parts. This will be the "scenic" part, and part 2 will be the birds we saw.
One of the most common wildflowers seen around here in riparian and scrub brush areas.
(Don't forget to click on the images if you want to see a larger photo.)
With daylight savings time still in effect Red and I went in the afternoon around 3 p.m. and stayed until just after sunset (around 6 p.m.). The photo above was looking toward the East Bay; and the photo below was looking north with the Dumbarton Bridge in the distance, one of the two bridges that connects the East Bay with the Peninsula. The Peninsula (more or less) consists of cities north of San Jose, such as Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Redwood City, and San Mateo.

The history behind this great birding place is quite interesting. Red and I met a gentleman photographer while we were there and he mentioned to us that the history behind this place was that it once was a boat launch and yacht club. So I checked on the web to see if I could find historical info on it and found two good resources. The first one regarding the history is found here. Here is an excerpt from that web page: "Byxbee envisioned the development of the Baylands as a park and recreation center and in January 1921, the Board of Public Works recommended the initial purchase of 40 acres of marshland. Nine years later, Byxbee submitted a plan that included a municipal airport, a salt-water swimming pool, a yacht harbor -- yachting was his main recreation -- and clubhouse, a basin for seaplanes, and areas for playgrounds, picnic grounds, golf course, and a game reserve. The cost was estimated at 2.2 million dollars."
The second resource I found is here. Both resources are excellent reading about Palo Alto and about the Baylands in particular.
Photo above is looking south toward Mountain View with the Moffett Field hangars in the near distance. The U.S. Navy used to own this property, and then closed in the mid-1990s. These hangars were used to store blimps/dirigibles and have been landmarks to spot the cities of Sunnyvale and Mountain View. I do believe that the property now belongs to NASA. Here is a link to the history of Moffett Field.

Photo above is Mount Hamilton, located on the east side of Santa Clara valley. Atop Mt. Hamilton is the Lick Observatory, run by the University of California. Here is a link to its history.

Again, I'm looking across to the East Bay foothills. Notice the alpenglow. It was such a beautiful day there at the Baylands.
And here (above) is a shot of the sun setting in the west (of course!). And below another shot a few minutes later of the alpenglow.
This alpenglow shot was looking east, just south of Mt. Hamilton. I hope you enjoyed the scenery. Next post will be the birds Red and I saw along the trail of the bay and at the duck pond.


Linda in Erie said...

The Palo Alto Baylands look like a beautiful place to spend the day. It a good thing that someone thought to develop the area as a park way back in 1921. I'm looking forward to the bird photos you took there.

Martha said...

Beautiful and inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

Red said...

First thing in my mind is Desert Marigold, but that's probably not right. It's very close to that though.

Mary said...


From Baltimore to California is quite a contrast!

I enjoy the scenery you have there.

Just wonderful!


Shellmo said...

Nice series - especially liked the east bay - thanks for sharing this part of the world with this mid westerner!

Mary C said...

Hi Linda. Palo Alto Baylands seems to cover so much territory, too, and yet, when you look at it on a map it doesn't seem to be that big at all. But on the other hand, I think it was mentioned that the Baylands is just under 2,000 acres - so I guess that's a good sized preserve.

Martha, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the scenery.

Red, I'm still hoping we can eventually put the correct ID on that plant.

Mary, yes, quite a contrast. Even the wetlands around here are so different. I'm glad you enjoyed the scenery from this "corner of the world."

Hi Shelley. Thanks; I'm glad you enjoyed the scenic views. Those East Bay hills are quite impressive, aren't they?


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