A tidal phenomenon | January 17, 2020 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - January 17, 2020

A tidal phenomenon

King tides bring flooding — and rare bird sightings — to the Baylands

January did more than usher in a new year — it also brought with it higher-than-normal ocean tides that provided rare bird sightings at Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve. Those exploring the Baylands on Jan. 12 to witness the season's second occurrence of a king tide were treated to a rare sighting of a Ridgway's rail tiptoeing through the pickleweed marshland behind the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center. Due to the high sea level, the near-threatened bird had been forced out of its regular hiding spot along "rail alley," a water channel in the marshlands that birds frequent. Other birds, including great egrets, northern harriers, ducks, sparrows, black phoebes and avocets also could be spotted nearby in the marsh, unafraid of the dozens of visitors equipped with zoom lenses and binoculars.

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