On Saturday D. and I got out of the house in spite of the threat of rain for some unstructured time in the marshes at the Baylands Nature Preserve in Palo Alto, and I took some pics.
The many ponds in the marsh provide critical resting and feeding grounds for migratory waterfowl.
The marsh is full of Common reed.
Since we were there last, someone has taken the lid off the cistern and placed a makeshift cover on it, for some reason.
Another look at one of the ponds in the marsh.
A closer look at the mystery object in the middle of the marsh, first seen in April.
It seems to be connected to the marsh through a black hose.
The marsh is a very reedy place.
Raccoon tracks in the mud of a shallow pond.
Brass buttons live in a specialized ecological niche. They prefer muddy wetlands with low oxygen concentrations and brackish water. They are very salt-tolerant.
A landfill abuts the preserve, and its strange, sculptural machines are prominent on the horizon.
Looking across a stand of pepperweed past the reeds to the Diablo Range on the other side of San Francisco Bay.
A white-tailed kite hovers motionless over the marsh in search of prey.
♪♫♪ You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out . . . ♪♫♪
White-tailed kite, sittin' in a tree, r - e - s - t - i - n - g.
On a blustery day, the marsh is a bleak place.
More tracks in the mud.
The remains of a crawdad in the pickleweed.
Mats of dead dodder, a parasitic plant, have a gothic look.
Live dodder, with flowers.
Since dodder feeds off its host plant, it doesn't have to make food on its own and thus doesn't need chlorophyll, so it's orange.
This fish skeleton is almost invisible in the pickleweed.
I think we have found the marsh superhighway.
A rainbow sheen floats on the surface of a few ponds.
That water doesn't look too good.
The strange water doesn't seem to put off the flies, though.
It begins to sprinkle in the marsh.
Out in the middle of the marsh are big concrete conduits, just lying there, remnants from earlier days prior to the nature preserve.
Some ponds in the marsh are scummy.
This pond goes from scummy to clear in just a few yards.
The rainbow sheen on this pond is so vivid and unnatural, it's a little scary.
I have to wonder exactly what is in the ground that is causing that iridescence in the water.
Several little western pygmy blue butterflies are flying about in the marsh. Their larvae feed on the pickleweed.
The sprinkles get heavier so we have to turn back and head home.
White-tailed kites are not the only things in the sky today.
The colors of the autumn marsh: dark browns, olive greens, tawny yellows, muted russets and heathered purples.
Autumn in the marsh.