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Pahavit's Universe

Date: 11-19-2013 12:24 AM
Subject: Baylands Marsh
Security: Public
Tags:baylands, big dish, bird, bone, broken egg, byxbee park, california hornsnail, egg, feather, field trip, floof, hawk, marsh, palo alto, pheasant, red-tailed hawk, snail, trash
Baylands Marsh

On Saturday D. and I took a brief walk around the wetland marsh section of the Baylands in Palo Alto.  For different reasons both D. and I have trouble walking, and the Baylands has flat trails, plus it's close by.  The marsh was as dry as we've ever seen it, with large expanses of dried, cracked mud where open water used to be.  I was troubled to see numerous deep cracks in the ground everywhere we walked, not just in the usually wet areas.  Yet in spite of this, we saw lots of waterfowl, including avocets, coots and a few ducks.  We also startled a red-tailed hawk that had been feeding on a pheasant in the brush beside the trail.  The hawk took off flying with a bulging full crop, and circled back after we had moved on.

Some surprises: a broken egg; the sight of Stanford's Big Dish radio-telescope in the distant foothills; and a couple of empty California horn snail shells (Cerithidea californica), a local endangered species being edged out of its habitat by the invasive Eastern mud snail (Ilyanassa obsoleta), so it was heartening to see signs of the native snail a little farther away from its usual range.

Here are some of the pics I took.

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