On a hazy, chilly autumn day late last year, D. and I spent some time at the Emily Renzel Wetlands marsh in the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve. Here are our pics.
We find an owl's wing in the brush beyond where the trail peters out. We think it's from a Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus).
Here's its feet, found a few yards away.
The feet have fleshy pads with bumpy ridges to help grip prey.
The talons interlace with each other to skewer prey from all angles.
We return a couple of weeks later on a sunny, cool day and take some more pics.
The trail into the marsh.
Avocets feeding in a pond.
A peaceful afternoon for mallards on a pond.
A red-tailed hawk soars above.
Ducks take flight.
A white-tailed kite hovering above the marsh.
A view across the marsh.
Looking west into the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Marsh plants provide a habitat for the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse.
The last of the recent storm clouds move on elsewhere.
Neon-green algae lines a pond. I'm tempted to think it will glow in the dark.
A strange device placed in the middle of the marsh by the county Vector Control Division. A label on it said it has dry ice in it. It also has a little fan and what looks like a travel soap box with wires coming out of it.
A severed foot of a coot, with its pronounced lobed toes. We find a few more bird parts here and there. Predators and scavengers eat well in this marsh.
Flocks of ducks and other shorebirds enjoy a quiet afternoon.