Toad in the Hole

August 04, 2006

Speaking of Family Values

We took a stroll along the part of the Hayward Regional Shoreline known to birders as Frank's Dump, and got to see lots of good birds, including some Forster's terns scatting about. There were a couple of young ones begging, and adults obligingly brought them fish.

Hayward terns

The migration is well under way; we had red knots -- lots of red knots! -- and peep and dowitchers and ruddy turnstones and black turnstones and a surfbird yes a surfbird that far inside the Bay on the mudflats and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few; and black-necked stilts and avocets, the usual gulls and cormorants, egrets, longbilled curlews, godwits, even a flock of pintails overhead.

This walk is along the edge of a dump. There's lots of broken bricks and paving and cable and wave-worn china bits, odd drums, concrete chunks. Someone has been planting chow on the bank next to the trail: cabbages, cherry tomatoes, okra(!), squash, maybe even nasturtiums -- they're not ubiquitous there, but they're blooming in little patches among the wild radish and little bits of coyotebrush along the same stretch. I don't know what's up with that, but it does prove that it's hot enough to ripen okra on the semi-South Bay shoreline on a west-facing bank.

Posted at August 4, 2006 01:55 AM


So cute. So so SO cute. Thank you.

I love your pictures of birdies! 'Course, you write real purty, too. Love the sketch of the dump.

Posted by: Sara at August 5, 2006 02:26 PM

Red Knots? I think you'll have to start photographing and posting these exotic (to me) birds, or I'll have to pick up a more comprehensive guide.

Yesterday my neighbour alerted me to a couple pelicans floating down the river. They are not unusual in this part of the province pre and at migration, but I've never seen them in the city, nor in the river. Lovely sight. Best I can do this morning is hot air balloons over the valley.

Posted by: Pony at August 6, 2006 03:19 PM

If I could've photographed those, Pony, you bet I would've. It's kinda hard to find them in numbers, even in migration, and this seems to be The Place -- we saw more of them in one place here last year than we'd seen in total over a decade at least.

I think they're pretty much a coastal shorebird, so I guess they would be exotic to you. Coastal shorebird as opposed to the kind like, oh, spotted sandpiper that breeds upland and then migrates shoreward.

If I ever do get a red knot pic, I promise I'll post it here. I'll be braggin'.

White pelicans are amazing. We were looking at a flotilla of them in the South Bay a few years back, and a passerby stopped to see what we were looking at and was suitably awed. "So majestic -- like galleons under full sail!" Wouldn't it be great if we ran our cities so that they'd turn up in urban rivers all the time?

I like that shot too, Sara. Took some cropping and sharpenizing -- I don't have Photoshop, but the camera came with a primitive imitation -- but mostly it took luck and attention. Attention's not hard when the young birds are begging loudly and the adults are flying around yelling "SkrrrrIIitch! skrrrrIIIIiiitch!" in that oddly pleasant sandpaper Forster's tern voice.

Posted by: Ron at August 6, 2006 03:45 PM

Pelicans are in by the 100s at a lake 30 mins distance. I hope to get out there this week.

Rivers through cities? Well western (and to some extent eastern) Canadian cities were built around the rivers, beginning with the voyageur camps and fur trading posts.

Posted by: Pony at August 6, 2006 07:34 PM