pahavit (pahavit) wrote,

A ghost town in San Francisco Bay

A ghost town in San Francisco Bay

Back in 1876 a railroad was put through Station Island, nestled among the sloughs, creeks and marshes in southern San Francisco Bay.  The railroad put in two swing bridges at either end of the island and a bridge-tender's cabin in between.  Thus was the birth of Drawbridge (even though neither of the bridges were true drawbridges).  Over the ensuing decades it developed into a tiny community of vacationers, duck hunters and free spirits.  Once rail travel declined, so did Drawbridge, and its last inhabitant left for good in 1979.  It has been a ghost town ever since, sinking slowly into the marsh.

Station Island is now part of the sprawling Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which gives lectures about Drawbridge and runs small field trips there.  Today D. and I went, and D. took these pics.

We see lots of pelicans in the surrounding salt ponds as we drive along the levee towardt he ghost town.

A little island in the salt evaporation pond is teeming with them.

Great blue heron crowding a snowy egret.  We suspect he is going to try to steal the egret's fish.

Canada goose and goslings.

A Forster's tern about to dive for a fish.

Some of the other salt pond birds we see: sandpipers, black-necked stilts, common egrets, cormorants drying their wings.

The view across stands of non-native spartina cordgrass lining Coyote Creek into the sunken ghost town.

Some of the abandoned, derelict buildings of Drawbridge, in the process of sinking slowly into the marsh.

The railroad trestle leading onto the southern edge of Station Island.  We cannot get any closer without trespassing on Southern Pacific property.  The remains of the town itself are off-limits.

On our way back we see some burrowing owls along Disk Dr. in Alviso.  One is a chick shrieking at mom and dad for some lunch.  Mom gives us quite the skunk eye for several minutes.

One (Papa, we think) likes to perch on the fence.

We also see a kestrel perched in top of a lightpole down the street.

Finally, before we leave we notice the Sanitary Sewer manhole cover, made in India, of all places.

Tags: abandoned, alviso, bird, burrowing owl, canada goose, drawbridge, egret, field trip, great blue heron, kestrel, marsh, pelican, san jose, wildlife refuge

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