February 5th, 2013

National Wildlife Refuge, Newark

National Wildlife Refuge, Newark

Saturday was hazy but rather mild so D. and I decided to go to the National Wildlife Refuge across the Bay in Fremont, because it had been 2 1/2 years since our last visit there and the trails were flat and relatively easy for me to walk (I still can't handle hills or rough terrain without risking a serious crash).  While there I took these pics.

We set out on the trail.

The educational pavilion seen from the trail.

A sluice gate allows tides in and out of former salt evaporation ponds.  The tide is ebbing this afternoon.

The salt marsh, the boardwalk spanning Newark Slough, and a former pumphouse now used for picnicking.

Some birds in Newark Slough:

Northern shoveler.

Female bufflehead.

American avocet.

American avocet in winter plumage.  In breeding season it will have a rusty red neck.

The day is hazy.

The pumphouse once controlled the levels of seawater in surrounding salt ponds.

Looking out the pumphouse window toward the pavilion.

Two song sparrows and some rusty junk in the marsh.

A former salt pond shows remnants of long-ago rotted structures sticking up out of the water.

An eared grebe in non-breeding plumage swims in the salt pond.

The salt marsh.

The Newark Slough Trail.

A tiny island in the salt pond is crowded with black-necked stilts, plus a couple of female northern shovelers (one very well camouflaged) and some dunlins.

Another look at the former salt pond from farther along the trail.

The former salt ponds were so saturated they could not support any plant life.  Now that tidal bay water can access these areas again, there are signs of plant life showing up.

There are many interesting things to see alongside the trail.

The day is hazy and still, the water smooth and calm, the light flat and colorless.

On our way back we see a lesser yellowlegs in Newark Slough.

A building of unknown purpose behind the pavilion.

A characteristic multi-tiered sage seed head beside the trail.

A last look at the salt marsh.