Place: Hayward Shoreline Regional Park, Hayward, California
Address: 3010 W Winton Ave, Hayward, CA
Length: 3.9 miles
Hayward Shoreline is one of the best places in the Bay Area to see wildlife up close. Mostly feathered wildlife, but others as well. Along the 9 miles trail that stretches from the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center (HSIC) in the south by CA-92 to the San Leandro Marina in the north there are sloughs, ponds, and restored wetlands and salt marshes that are year-round home to numerous species of local birds and an essential wintering grounds to many more species of migratory birds.
It is also a great recreational trail for hiking and biking, flat and easy, with great bay view and refreshing breeze.
Usually I hike the shoreline from the south and finishing the hike with a visit at the center. The hike I'm posting here is in the middle section of the shoreline, starting and finishing at the Winton Ave. entrance.
I didn't expect to see any bloom at this time of year, but there was some. The California coastal region never fails :-)
The tidal water flows between the salt marsh sections via a system of sloughs and canals, moving from one to the other through pipe holes like the one at the bottom of this photo:
A little whirlpool forms where the incoming tide water flows into the pipe hole. The children watched with intense fascination.
This fascination wasn't experienced only by the kids :-)
Tidal water regularly floods the salt marsh areas, supporting the specialized plant life and the numerous birds and other wildlife that depends on the tidal cycle.
My first hike there was right after some rainfall and the view was nice and clear. By my later hikes the air has already gotten to murky to see anything on the horizon.
|Great Blue Heron|
|Mallard, female and male|
The source turned out to be a gopher snake: a gentle, non-venomous Bay Area resident that was mimicking the sound of a rattlesnake in an attempt to scare me away.
Eventually, of course, I did walk away, leaving the snake alone.
A smaler slough to my south was full with high tide water on my firs hike. On my last one, however, the tide was low and the exposed mud was like open table for sandpipers and other shorebirds.
posted about it in this blog a while ago.
|The Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center|
|Northern Shoveler, male|
The most common sparrow there is perhaps the white-crowned sparrow. Maybe common, but still very nice to see. And this particular individual landed right next to me and gathered bits of dry vegetation with complete disregard to my presence. This is how I got this wonderful view of its crown.
|Northern Harrier, male|
Just before exiting the park I heard a commotion near the slough I started my hike at. Looking there I saw two huge jackrabbit running, one chasing the other. The one that was running away took a dive into the bushes and the other one sat outside and flicked its ears.
|Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus). It's actually a Hare.|
|Anna's Hummingbird, male|