|Black- Collared Stilts along Coyote Creek |
Collared stilts noir have returned to Coyote Creek from where their summer home was. I wonder if the recent mild rains were their return signal. Maybe it was the equinox (and a gorgeous equinox day for a bike ride). This pair foraged with several greater yellowlegs in the brackish pools adjacent to the Mill Valley-Sausalito Pathway . I was wondering if these were the same pair I had seen here for the past few years. Audubon says that seventy percent of California’s black-necked stilts reproduce in the Sacramento Valley. If this is a breeding pair that 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 pickle with a much more common snowy egret. I watched the GBH stalk for a few minutes without striking, while the egret seemed to strike fairly frequently and successfully. What he was catching was too small to discern, but back home I zoomed in on a photo that appeared to show a small slug in his beak.
The closed envelope of the old Dipsea cafe is reflected in the stream behind the GBH. The owner had planned to return in 438 to turn the building into a medical marijuana dispensary, but that plan doesn’t seem to have come to fruition. The derelict building is a surprisingly run-down approach to chic Mill Valley. On Mount Tamalpais, I don’t need to worry about my trail camera being flooded by the kind of gully washer we had last year, an atmospheric river that poured out at the end of October. This storm changed the character of the pool I had my camera on, mostly by removing much of the gently sloping gravel beach. Although the fox and raccoon showed as much as before, the bird life decreased a lot. I also suspect that the approach to the pool has changed, as often happens in nature when the paths are cut off by fallen trees or new plants. Not a single deer has passed my camera trap all summer, although they were quite frequent in the past