Marshes

Kayaking Baylands Preserve, Sept 2018

Baylands Nature Preserve is a little piece of the San Francisco Peninsula that was a yacht club, then a landfill, and is now a two-thousand acre tract of pickleweed marshland protected from development and owned by the City of Palo Alto, with fifteen miles of trails and a kayak launch.


It’s adjacent to San Francisquito Creek and the Palo Alto Flood Basin.


We kayaked there a couple weekends in September.


The water’s pretty shallow, and the winds, blowing northeast, were a chore. We talked to a wind surfer who said a 15 mph northeast wind is pretty typical there.


It was very scenic though.

We saw gulls,


great egret

some beady-eyed vultures

the cutest least sandpipers


and some metal birds (Palo Alto Airport is a stone’s throw away).

And on one occasion, we were serenaded by a talented saxophonist

as we packed up to go.

Resources Consulted:
How to Identify White Herons—Excerpt from “Better Birding” Book, The Cornell Lab or Ornithology
Least Sandpiper, Audubon Guide to North American Birds
Map of The Baylands, City of Palo Alto
Officials unveil first phase of San Francisquito Creek flood protection, Palo Alto Online
Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve (Wikipedia)
Palo Alto Baylands Preserve, San Francisco Bay Trail (lots of great information and photos in here)
San Francisquito Creek Baylands Map, Guide to San Francisco Bay Area Creeks
Shorebird Identification, Pacific Flyway Shorebird Survey

Nine Mile Pond Canoe Trail, Apr 2013

25°19’29.77″N 82°47’59.63″W elev 0 ft
Everglades National Park, Homestead, Florida, 33034, Near Flamingo Visitor Center and Campground

This is one of my favorite places on Earth.

The shortcut takes about three hours, stopping to take pictures. The full trail takes about five hours, once again, stopping to take pictures. Low and narrow mangrove tunnels make it technically challenging. We use Cannon Wave 4 piece breakdown paddles that we shorten while in the tunnels. When we called ahead to make sure the pond wasn't dry (it being March and the dry season in Florida), we were told to watch out for nursing gators, but the only gator we saw was the one that hangs out near the edge of the pond by the parking lot. Here's the National Parks Service trail description: http://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/upload/9-Mile-Pond-Canoe-Trail-2.pdf

The short cuttakes about three hours, stopping to take pictures. The full trail takes about five hours, once again, stopping to take pictures. Low and narrow mangrove tunnels make it technically challenging. We use Cannon Wave 4 piece breakdown paddles that we shorten while in the tunnels. When we called ahead to make sure the pond wasn’t dry (it being March and the dry season in Florida), we were told to watch out for nursing gators, but the only gator we saw was the one that hangs out near the edge of the pond by the parking lot. Here’s the National Parks Service trail description: http://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/upload/9-Mile-Pond-Canoe-Trail-2.pdf

This is a Black Vulture with a tracking device on him. "Lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses." (Wikipedia, "Black Vulture") (http://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/upload/Final-Vulture-Tagging-SB.pdf)

This is a Black Vulture with a tracking device on him. “Lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses.” (Wikipedia, “Black Vulture”) (http://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/upload/Final-Vulture-Tagging-SB.pdf)

It waddled away from me as I chased it with my camera.

It waddled away from me as I chased it with my camera.

I think this is a Double-Crested Cormorant. It could also be an Anhinga, but the Audubon Society says the feet of the Anhinga are pink, and this guy's feet are clearly yellow.

I think this is a Double-Crested Cormorant. It could also be an Anhinga, but the Audubon Society says the feet of the Anhinga are pink, and this guy’s feet are clearly yellow.

Don't these red mangrove look like many-legged animals? Like millipedegroves?

Don’t these red mangrove look like many-legged animals? Like millipedegroves?

The Paurotis Palm.

The Paurotis Palm.

Bladderworts in bloom, like Chinese lanterns, floating on the water.

Bladderworts in bloom, like Chinese lanterns, floating on the water.

That's periphyton in the water in the foreground of this picture. I love scooping up pieces and squishing them in my hand.

That’s periphyton in the water in the foreground of this picture. I love scooping up pieces and squishing them in my hand.

Isn't it incredible how clear the water is? You can see a fish and its shadow!

Isn’t it incredible how clear the water is? You can see a fish and its shadow!

Mangrove tunnel! The pole on the right is a trail marker.

Mangrove tunnel! The pole on the right is a trail marker.

Where the marsh meets the hammock.

Where the marsh meets the hammock.

The Wind

The Wind

Red Mangrove

Red Mangrove

Swallow-Tailed Kite

Swallow-Tailed Kite

The Halloween Penannt. "Sexual activity normally occurs between 8 and 10:30 am, and males will normally wait for females to come to them around the edge of ponds, whilst perched on a weed" (Wikipedia, "Halloween Pennant"). Isn't it amazing how much scientists have learned about this planet we live on!

The Halloween Penannt. “Sexual activity normally occurs between 8 and 10:30 am, and males will normally wait for females to come to them around the edge of ponds, whilst perched on a weed” (Wikipedia, “Halloween Pennant”). Isn’t it amazing how much scientists have learned about this planet we live on!

American Coot

American Coot