Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Behind The Sound Wall

From Sound Wall Birds

Some corner of our peripheral vision is now dedicated to scanning for potential avian life. Even amid the hustle of Bayshore 101. With the great expanses of salt flats returning to their natural state, there's even more opportunity for spotting birds en route.
Egrets -- large, white, given to standing motionless while stalking fish -- turn up often, and in the most surprising places. Apparently even cement-lined culverts and roadside drainage offer sustenance. One Foster City egret spent much of last winter in a bank of iceplant, so far as we could tell. Another is often in the culvert at the Third Street on-ramp.
From Sound Wall Birds

On the border of Foster City and Redwood Shores, there's one patch of marsh dotted with grandfathered billboards. James spotted one egret darting in between two billboards that stand back to back, and wondered if it had found a great spot to nest. It looked like there was more bird action in some water but our view was blocked by the sound wall.
Last week I figured out how to get to the other side of the sound wall. The viewing spot is in Foster City, at Port Royal and Rock Harbor Lane. There's parking and Bay Train Access. A few steps let you look over the marsh and resident egrets. Around the corner, a drainage culvert empties into an untidy shallow basin that nevertheless attracts various birds. I suspect it's protected and out of the wind. The cormorants must think the yellow water control device was put out just for their sunning pleasure, like the electric transmission towers. Not a drop dead must-see birding destination, but a spot to find wildlife if you are in the neighborhood.
Want to find this location? Click on Sound Wall Birds above -- it has a Google map showing where the photos were taken.

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