Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Field Trip: MLK Regional Shoreline

 Can you imagine taking yourself next door to the airport to look for some peace and quiet?  Well, per Lisa's recommendation I did.  Improbably situated, the MLK Regional Shoreline ringing the San Leandro Bay is the eye of the storm, surrounded by the Oakland Airport, industrial complexes, and Downtown Oakland.  Take a stroll up the ramp of the Observation Tower above and look out over Arrowhead Marsh with binoculars and a bird ID book in hand.   Calm...

I loved the long dock the best, though.  The seemingly endless journey to the end of the dock and middle of the marsh can be a treasure hunt for sharp eyes.  Birds rustling around in the grasses below with piles of mussel and clam shells peeking through the mud.  At high tide you can spot gigantic rays fluttering their way to a meal.  At low tide the birds easily outnumber the tiny handful of human park patrons.  I love that the birds aren't what I'd see in my landlocked backyard only a few miles away.  Look up and the Oakland skyline looks downright romantic.   

I can't wait to go again and sit for awhile, taking in the quiet solitude as the world (and the rampant ground squirrels) scurry frantically around me.


  1. I went down to the water's edge in West Oakland a couple of months ago. There's a new park down there in the thick of the industrial port zone. Maybe Bayshore park? It was actually nice open space, though not as wildlife friendly as the one you went to. It's cool to see parts of the bayshore coming back to life.

  2. I haven't been to Shoreline here in Palo Alto/Mountain View (I'm at work - it's OK, it's lunch break!) for ages. I agree, totally different, flat, calm, and all those different birds and also plants - pickleweed and such. But tomorrow - Monterey, and plenty of shorebirds there. Maybe I'll stop of at Elkhorn Slough on the way...

  3. You saw rays? That's awesome I've seen sharks, as well.

    This park is also the home to the highly endangered California Clapper Rail. You can often see them at high tides.

    Links to rails at this park:

  4. Hi Brad- I'll have to check that one out. Is that one more geared to sports fields?

    Hi Country Mouse- I promise I won't tell that you're blog surfing if you're on the clock! Such a new world of natives! Pickleweed is pretty cute. Hope your trip to Monterey was birderiffic!

    Lisa, you've totally topped me- you saw a shark?! I'm so jealous! Those posts are pretty awesome, too- thanks so much for recommending this place!