The sun was shining, and we piled Robb's wheelchair into the car and drove out the the Coyote Hills Regional Park. We decided that using the chair would mean that Robb would expend less energy walking, and we could enjoy a longer day outside. I had gotten some advice about getting the chair in and out of the car from some of the ladies at the BORP trip, and I think I had a slightly easier time of it. I still don't understand how frail old ladies haul around their husbands' wheelchairs...
(The goose in the background of this photo seems entirely uninterested in Robb or his chair.)
Coyote Hills is huge and beautiful. There are paved bike trails through a variety of terrains. There are also boardwalks into the marshes. There are superlative views of the San Francisco Bay.
And there is wildlife!
Pictured above is a White-Tailed Kite, and below is a Common Moorhen. The Moorhen is a "first" for me and Robb.
The Moorhen is a truly weird-looking bird. Look at how the bill goes all the way up into this bird's forehead!
In addition to these two birds, we saw Pied Billed Grebes, Double Crested Cormorants, Black-Crowned Night Herons, a Great Blue Heron, a Snowy Egret, Great Egrets, Turkey Vultures, Red-Tailed Hawks, an American Kestrel, American Coots (cousins to our Moorhen), beautifully colored-up Cinnamon Teals, American Wigeons, Mallards, Dowitchers, Forster's Terns, Western Scrub Jays, Barn Swallows, A tiny Hummingbird that I couldn't identify, Black Phoebes, Marsh Wrens, American Robins, Northern Mockingbirds, Dark Eyed Juncos, Brewer's Blackbirds, and tons of little sparrowy dudes that I'm not skilled enough to identify. It was a lovely day.
One of the reasons that we went to Coyote Hills was to hide some more letterboxes. I had created these prior to Robb's accident, and wanted to place them at Coyote Hills, but until now I didn't think Robb has the stamina for this trip. As it was, he took a break, and reclined the car seat while I continued tromping around the park.
If you have any intention at all of seeking this series of letterboxes, then don't look at this.
And if you're grossed out by scat, don't look at this or this. I thought this was astonishing, because it had the tiniest rodent bones I had ever seen. Tiny jawbones, tiny teeth, tiny femurs, even tiny toes. (Yeah, I tore into it...) Don't worry. I washed my hands afterwards.
I saw a number of exciting birds while Robb was napping in the car, including another "first" the Common Yellowthroat. This is a exceptionally pretty songbird -- bright yellow with black and white marking that looks like it is wearing a black "sleeper's mask." Apparently, the western birds are the brightest yellow, and the one I saw was Crazy Crayola Yellow.
I also saw a Northern Harrier, a pair of Northern Shoveler in glorious breeding plumage, a few American Avocets, Ruddy Ducks, Mourning Doves, and more unidentified little birdies than I would like to admit. And of course, there were loads of ground squirrels.
We also saw a furry mammal swimming along that didn't look like a muskrat to us. It seemed awfully large, and Robb thought the tail looked flat, not ratty-skinny. Hmmmmmm....