Date: April 26, 2020
Place: Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, Fremont, CA
Address: 2 Marshlands Rd. Fremont
Length: 6.4 miles
Don Edwards NWR is one of the places we visit a lot to look for birds, and we always walk the same loop trail that goes through the wetland area, around the hill, and near the salt pond. One of the days last April my chika saw a post in a local birding group of red-necked phalaropes at the salt pond there. When I suggested going on a hike she insisted it would be to Don Edwards NWR to look for these birds. Being a weekday, Pappa Quail had to stay home and work, and the younger chika opted out. So me an my elder chika only, went down to the bay to hike at the Don Edwards NWR, and this time one a different trail than our usual.
|Our hike as captured by my GPS|
|Ithuriel's Spear, Triteleia laxa|
|California Poppy, Eschscholzia california|
|The salt pond, view south|
|Western Sandpiper, breeding plumage|
|Dunlin, male, breeding plumage|
North of the levee were smaller, non industrial ponds and slat marsh areas covered with pickled. I could see the thin stripe of ST 84 and the few vehicles with essential workers moving on the road to and from the Dumbarton Bridge. North of the road bulged the round Coyote Hills that are the heart of Coyote Hills Regional Park.
|View north to Coyote Hills|
|Mallards and pond scum|
|Bonaparte's Gull, breeding plumage|
|Great Blue Heron, nesting|
|Ruddy Duck, male, breeding plumage|
The pickleweed (which BTW is edible), is a keystone species in the salt marsh habitat, supporting a number of wildlife species, and also the salt marsh dodder - a parasitic plant that pulls its vital energy directly from the pickleweed's phloem.
|Salt Marsh Dodder, Cuscuta salina, on Pickleweed, Salicornia pacifica|
All the way ahead loomed the Coastal Ridge with Mission Peak directly in front of us. All that time my chika was searching the water fro more birds.
As we got closer to the southeastern side of the pond we were seeing more and more birds. The swimmers first, riding the open waves.
|Eared Grebe, breeding plumage|
|Red-necked Phalarope, male, breeding plumage|
The avocets look very pretty in breeding plumage.
|American Avocet, breeding plumage|
|View southwest to the Bay and the old south bay railroad bridge|
By the time we arrived at the east corner of the pond I decided to take the offshoot trail to Thornton Ave. From there we walked back that half a mile along the road, walking on the west bike lane (there's no sidewalk there), and trying to ignore the trash on the roadside and focus on the pretty sights instead.