Saturday, November 27, 2010

October 23 2010 - Coyote Hills Regional Park

A Flickr contact, Harjeet Singh, turned us on to this superb location.  It is a bit of a drive for us, but OH so worth it.  The park boasts a very diverse set of habitats - hills, bay, sloughs, nectar garden - and hence also has a diverse set of fauna that frequent the park.  There are so many ways to enjoy this place, and one can come up with any number of walks to take.

In the nectar garden you will usually find 3 or more photographers sitting quietly and patiently to see who will show up for the adoring paparazzi.  Warblers, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, and thrushes seem to appear magically from nowhere.  Depending on the time of day the light ranges from heavenly to a bit challenging, but it is always a divine place to sit and soak in some serenity, and so far we have never been disappointed.  The birds are attracted to the lovely variety of colorful nectar flowers and the array of fine bird baths and fountains.  Below is a fox sparrow looking up from his bath.

There are large oaks, sycamores and eucalyptus surrounding the nectar garden area, and you can frequently find a lot of interesting creatures in these trees.

The hills are home to a large number of raptors, and there is ample rodent life to support this population.  We almost always see multiples of red tailed hawks, harriers, kestrels, and white tailed kites.  Harjeet has also captured a golden eagle juvenile and a great horned owl in this area.

The walk along the bay provides some amazing views.  On a clear day one can see San Francisco, Oakland, the bridges, and Mount Tamalpais, along with all of the baylands across the water.  The ripe smell of the bay can be a bit overpowering, but the view is worth it.  Great egrets, herons, snowy egrets, and american white pelicans are flying overhead or foraging in this area.

The slough paths are delightful.  Some boardwalks have been created that cut through high reeds and there is a great feeling of solitude walking these paths.  Here you are likely to see a broad variety of ducks, shoreline waders, more harriers and kites, and if you are lucky perhaps a secretive sora, marsh wren, or rail may pop out from the reeds.  The twittering of the marsh wrens inside the reeds makes a lovely background sound as you walk through the high reeds.

More from Coyote Hills here: