This is the perfect time of the year for “birding” and enjoying our marshlands. With all the heart-breaking images on the news of oil-soaked grassland and beaches in Louisiana, I’m feeling even more thankful than usual for our incredible bay. If you have never taken the time to learn about the birds that come to our estuary, now might be a nice time. It’s incredible to think about the fact that this particular part of Mountain View was once a dump, and now it is one it is one of the most prized possessions of our city. This open space area not only provides recreation area for the community, but it also offers valuable habitat for wildlife. The salt marsh plants purify the air and help detoxify the bay waters. You can pick up a cool little book called “Birds of Shoreline” at the Rengstorff House for 5 bucks and get started. The book was provided to the community by Friends of the 'R' House. This book has illustrations of the most common birds that visitors at Shoreline might see including the Great Egret, Blue Heron, Sandpiper, Sparrows, Wrens, and Pelicans. It has a list of all the different kinds of birds that have been sighted at Shoreline since 1995 and it includes 231 different birds. It also has a map of the trails in the marsh area. It’s a really basic small book, but it’s certainly enough to get you started on your new hobby of birdwatching.
Every time I go to Shoreline I see bird-experts peering through binoculars out at little birds that are skipping along in the mug or guarding a nest of baby chicks. Occasionally the birdwatchers are excited about the sight of something rare and unusual. I’ve noticed that even when they’re excited about a rare bird, they still speak in a whisper … I like that about them. I’m always curious about what they know that I don’t. I’ve decided that I’m going to attempt to figure it out.
You can get your binoculars in Mountain View at Walmart, Sports Authority, or REI. Don’t forget your sunscreen and hat. You can purchase the Birds of Shoreline book at the Rengstorff House. Michaels at Shoreline is a great spot for lunch. I recommend their Chinese Chicken salad. I’ll see you on the trail out at Shoreline. Please keep your voice down to a whisper as you pass by me and the other birdwatchers.