On Saturday after leaving the Palo Alto Airport Open House, D. and I went over to nearby Byxbee Park, and I took these pics.
As we approach the park entrance, we pass this sign next to the anaerobic digesters and biofilters along the roadside at the Water Quality Control Plant.
The view north into the Baylands Nature Preserve complex. On the right, highway K-rail is laid out in a chevron pattern on the hillside pointing along the flight path to the nearby airport.
This California ground squirrel is perfectly camouflaged against the tawny dried grasses on the hillside.
A plane comes in to land at the airport 4 miles away.
Kite flying is prohibited in the park due to low planes overhead.
Seed pods of the wild radish look like swollen, arthritic fingers.
An egret in the flood control marsh across Mayfield Slough.
Looking north along Mayfield Slough.
White pelicans can be found here from August till December.
Unlike their cousin the brown pelican, white pelicans do not plunge-dive to catch fish. Instead they swim in a circle to corral their prey, and dip their heads down into the water to scoop up fish in their pouches.
After a swim and a bite, it's time to dry off and clean up a bit.
Moe, Larry and Curly.
♪♫♪ You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out . . . ♪♫♪
A flotilla of pelicans sails past a few Northern shovelers.
The pelican is a graceful flier, either singly, in flight formations, or soaring on thermals in flocks.
Hey look, another plane.
Hey look, more pelicans.
White pelicans prey mainly on fish in shallow wetlands. They will also eat crayfish, tadpoles and salamanders.
There are other things to see out here besides pelicans and planes. There is a clump of lilies, for instance, their pink flowers sticking out like a sore thumb in the dry golden grass.
There is a turkey vulture soaring over the marsh in search of dead things to scavenge.
There is a pied-billed grebe in the slough, on the lookout for fish, small crustaceans and aquatic insects to eat.
And there are some Northern shoveler ducks.
The shoveler's bill is wider at the tip than at the base and is lined with tiny teeth along the edges, for straining tiny aquatic invertebrates from water.
Here is a gadwall.
It almost looks like it is blowing bubbles in the water.
On our way back we see the old Sea Scouts building across the marsh. It is being renovated now to be used as the new Environmental Volunteers headquarters.