Birding in the Palo Alto Baylands

northern shovelers at the Palo Alto Baylands
I've written previously about four awesome birdwatching spots in the San Francisco Bay Area.  On my most recent trip to California, I found a number five to add to the list.  We took time for a hike through the Palo Alto Baylands located just behind the Palo Alto airport.  A long trail frequented by joggers is the main attraction.
Palo Alto Baylands - trail
We spotted all kinds of ducks slicing smoothly through the water.

Mallard ducks at the Palo Alto Baylands
I saw what I think was a western wood-pewee perched on a chain link fence at the edge of the lake.
Western wood-pewee
I loved the reflections of the whimsical clouds over the water.
Cloud reflections on the wetlands at the Palo Alto Baylands
A saltmarsh sparrow blended into the reeds.
saltmarsh sparrow at Palo Alto Baylands
Hummingbirds flitted about at the edge of the path.  I love how the color can change so dramatically due to iridescence caused when light hits air bubbles on the surface of the feathers of these tiny creatures.
Hummingbirds at Palo Alto Baylands
As with many parks in the Bay Area, electrical poles tower over the Bay.
Iron maidens running through the Palo Alto Baylands
The other side of the park was flanked by the Palo Alto airport and we were treated to the sight of private planes coming in for a landing.
Palo Alto Airport
Private plane landing at Palo Alto Airport
We spotted a channel of water tunneling into the wetland from the bay.
water channel in the Palo Alto Baylands
Northern shovelers and teals relaxed at water's edge.
northern shovelers at the Palo Alto Baylands
A ruddy duck swam happily past.
Ruddy duck in the Palo Alto Baylands
We could have kept going and hiked all day, but we were short on time and turned back.  After a brief survey of the trail map near the edge of the road, we took one more short detour to the northeast past Mundy Marsh.

Palo Alto Baylands Map
Harriet Mundy Marsh
More imposing iron maidens greeted us.
Iron maidens in the wetlands at Palo Alto Baylands
We rounded a corner and noticed a few people gathering with cameras held out.  I crept closer to get a better look and was treated to a sighting of this hawk posing for its audience.  It must have sat there for 10 minutes as onlookers happily snapped away.
Hawk at Palo Alto Baylands
Eventually it tired of us and with a tremendous flap of its wings was gone.
Hawk taking flight at Palo Alto Baylands
We walked back to the car past a group of American avocets grinning ear to ear from a great birding experience.
American avocet at Palo Alto Baylands
Packing my Suitcase

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Birding in the Palo Alto Baylands
Birding in the Palo Alto Baylands
Birdwatching in the Palo Alto Baylands.
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