Today D. and I checked out the northern section of Ravenswood Open Space Preserve, right next to the western end of the Dumbarton Bridge. On the bridge's south side there is an abandoned fishing pier, and on the pilings beneath the pier were scores of cliff swallow nests! And the nests were full of baby cliff swallows! Mom and pop cliff swallows were flying madly back and forth, soaring low over the water collecting bugs (probably the myriads of little flies swarming on the mud) and zooming back to the nest to feed Junior.
We also saw a sparrow that I think is a sage sparrow, but I couldn't be sure. (Why can't these birds sit still for 5 freakin' seconds to give me a good enough look at them?!) A couple of terns skimmed low over a lagoon. On the other side of the road were abandoned salt evaporation ponds, and a rough trail along the levee separating them from the Bay. We saw a seal bobbing in the Bay, and orange masses of salt marsh dodder, a parasitic growth on the pickleweed in the mud. A jackrabbit bounded through the brush.
There were bunches of black-necked stilts who vigorously scolded us whenever we got too close, an American avocet and a long-billed curlew.
A large wasp (possibly this one?) carefully dug out a little hole in the soft sand of the levee, deposited an egg inside and dragged what looked like a larva in, then methodically gathered up sand grains to cover up the hole. In a few minutes there was no sign it had been there at all.
This is really an amazing world we live in.