Friday, September 23, 2022

Coyote Creek


Black-necked Stilts Along Coyote Creek

The black-necked stilts have returned to Coyote Creek from wherever their summer home was. I wonder if the recent mild rains were their cue to return. Maybe it was the equinox (and a gorgeous equinoctial day it was for a bike ride). This pair was foraging with several greater yellowlegs in the brackish pools adjacent to the boardwalk off the Mill Valley-Sausalito Pathway. I wondered if they are the same pair I've seen here in years past. Audubon says seventy percent of California's black-necked stilts breed in the Sacramento Valley. If this is a breeding pair who raised chicks last season, the chicks have dispersed elsewhere.

Meanwhile, on the Coyote Creek side of the boardwalk, I was surprised to see a great blue heron hunting in the pickleweed along with a much more commonly seen snowy egret. I watched the GBH stalk for a few minutes without making a strike, while the egret seemed to strike quite frequently and successfully. Whatever it was catching was too small to make out, but back at home I zoomed in on a photo that appears to show a small slug in its beak. 

The boarded-up husk of the old Dipsea Cafe is reflected in the creek behind the GBH. The owner had planned back in 2016 to turn the building into a medical marijuana dispensary, but that plan doesn't seem to have gone anywhere. The derelict building makes for a surprisingly decrepit approach to swanky Mill Valley.

Up on Mt. Tamalpais, I need not have worried about my trail camera being flooded out by the kind of gully-washer we had last year, an atmospheric river that splashed down in late October. That storm changed the character of the pool I've had my trail camera on, mostly by removing much of the gently sloping gravel beach. Although fox and raccoon have been showing up as much as before, the bird life has diminished quite a bit. I also suspect the approach to the pool has changed, as often happens in nature, when trails get cut off by fallen trees or new plant growth. Not a single deer passed by my camera trap all summer, whereas they have been quite common in the past.

Great Blue Heron Next to Coyote Creek
(showing reflection of old Dipsea Cafe)

Close Crop of Egret Munchies

Before the rain, a fox passes by the pool. Note the rock in the back of the pool, which I had placed there for birds to land on.

The clouds were nice, but the rain was meh.

A raccoon hunts in the post-rain pool. That rock in the back of the pool is now submerged, but the creekbeds remain about as dry as they were before the rain.

A doe browses in a meadow near Rock Spring with her youngster, somewhere between fawn and yearling, staying close to mom.

The California fuchsia are still in bloom along Pantoll Road.

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