HABITAT: Palo Alto Baylands

For the past 6 years, since 2008, I have photographing the birds of the Palo Alto Baylands and Shoreline Park in Mt.View. Within the next year I hope to also be photographing birds in the Seattle, Washington area. 

My memories here are bittersweet. In that past year I lost two of my most important areas. The Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center closed its walk that went out into the Baylands and allowed not only a wonderful experience of the ocean and area, but also the sighting of the endangered California Clapper Rail. 

A few days ago I went out and and observed that, for the first time, the Coast Casey Forebay is almost completely dry. This is where I often saw the timid little Sora and other rare birds.

Last year, a large section of trees and brush were cleared in the Shoreline Park. This was an important habitat for small birds like wrens. Since then, I have not seen the same number of small birds in this area if any. 

Finally, I have also watched the slow and steady erosion and decline of the Shoreline Park area in terms of its habitat. Many human paths have been made down the embankments and added to the erosion. There are a lot of visitors from around the world who come through this area and have no regard for our wildlife at all. I think they see the area just as a big, public park and don't understand the importance of it. They bring dogs (which are not allowed), let their children chase the birds and throw rocks at them and trash gets discarded all around the area and down the embankments. I believe all this activity has also taken a toll on the wildlife that comes and nests in the area. 

This year there is about a 25% reduction (an unscientific guess) in the birds that I once saw in this area. With the terrible drought this year I have just become discourage with even going to this area, but as long as I live here, I'll continue to document the birds.

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