May by the Bay


The month of May is always a busy one for birds and birders (and me). There are many new arrivals –both newborns and Summer visitors. I tend to spend the majority of my time looking for interesting  birds and behavior in the Redwood Shores area and at Palo Alto Baylands Preserve. These areas are great for birding and convenient for me to visit frequently. At P.A. Baylands, the Bullock’s Oriole continued with at least one nest that contained fledglings. I say that in the past tense as on June 1, I witnessed the nest predated by a Cooper’s Hawk. In that attack, I observed two fledglings dropped to the ground with the hawk returning and the Orioles defending while searching for their young which were hiding in bushes. Who says birding is dull? While I have new photos of the Orioles, I wasn’t able to photograph the “action” as it literally came out of the blue and took place in a split second.

P.A. Baylands was also good for watching several Avocet and Black-necked Stilt pairs with their chicks. The most active area, located across from the eastern-most parking lot was wisely protected by park rangers from people intruding on their space. Unfortunately, there are still a few who don’t seem to get it by getting too close to these very protective birds. It’s pretty simple, if these birds are reacting to your presence, you’re too close –so back off.

Construction work continues around the Radio Rd. retention pond in Redwood Shores and I think that has resulted in reduced breeding there. For example, in years past, Forster’s Terns have used this area but this year they seem to have mostly relocated to the flooded area behind the new Redwood Shores Elementary school. Even the number of young Mallards seems lower than last year. But there’s no shortage of Canada Geese. In fact, there might be more than ever! The May photo gallery contains several Forster’s Tern images in flight and even a couple of attempts at capturing them emerging from the water after a “splash down.” This action will continue into June and I’ll post more photos soon. To view the May by the Bay photos click the link to the New Photos gallery - /new-photos/