Only the jackrabbit raced away from all the people and dogs tromping his grounds – on Martin Luther King Day.
The rest of us sauntered, birdwatched and met up with friends. Landpaths offered a one-day visit to Sears Point Ranch south of the intersection of Hwy 37 and Lakeville Hwy.
This area – 1000 acres – is in the process of wetland restoration. The functional entrance to this new piece of Bay Trail will actually be a couple of feet higher. This dam will protect the railroad track and Hwy 37 from flooding.
The treasure for us who enjoy walking, hiking and/or birdwatching is over the dike. The outer dike was about to be breached this winter and San Pablo Bay waters were to do their work of restoring the land to wetlands. But the December rains filled the ponds between the dikes and thousands of freshwater birds showed up in their migrations.
So it will stay this way, until the birds move on. The birds were mostly coots and Northern pintails. It was hard to identify them as they stayed away from the crowds and were mostly back-lit from the morning gray sky.
The morning was cloudy, but the fog had cleared enough we could see around the bay. The Carquinez Bridge, the plumes from the refineries, the ring of mountains everywhere around the Bay, and finally some skyline of San Francisco came into view.
This picture is on the saltwater side of the dike we walked out on. The saltwater birds were visiting elsewhere.
The Bay Trail (see links below) will connect that section from the Sonoma Marin Marina on the Petaluma River to Tolay Creek. Here’s the sign, we’ve walked to before, when this section was shut off, during the restoration.
Thank you LandPaths, Sonoma Land Trust and all the other people who have worked on this restoration.
Another section of wetland restoration is in Novato. The dike there was breached last year. Bay Trail Walk at Old Air Base.
One of my readers has told me that the dike at Cullinan Ranch has been breached. Also along Hwy 37, I haven’t seen it yet.
For distance ideas – it’s about 2 miles to Tolay and 2 miles to the Petaluma River. Walking less is always appropriate.
See you on this trail, in November – Lynn
Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Lynn & Mike Millar
I like this picture of Mike’s – a Van Gogh inspiration