On December 23, the number of harbor seals on the float at Alameda Point reached 80, a new record for a single day. The number of seals on the float exceeded 70 on 10 days during December, a new record for the month.
Seals were packed so tightly that some were barely hanging onto the edge. The cramped conditions when the float reaches 70 seals in December and January can lead to bouts of slapping and shoving, as harbor seals prefer to have some space when resting. Continue reading “Harbor seals max out their float in December”
A Snowy Egret caught two Bay pipefish in quick succession along the shoreline next to the Hornet Soccer Field on Sunday, November 24. This sighting of the Snowy Egret catching a pipefish is evidence that eelgrass, a special status marine vegetation, is present in the harbor east of the ferry maintenance facility. Pipefish “do not wander far from the eelgrass bed where they were born,” according to Bay Nature magazine. Eelgrass is pipefish habitat, in part, because pipefish are able to avoid predators as their slender bodies blend in with the narrow blades of eelgrass. Continue reading “Bay pipefish indicates eelgrass in Alameda Point harbor”
This Red-breasted Nuthatch was part of a small flock busily feeding in an evergreen tree in the old campground next to the Bay Trail on October 15th. Notice the bird’s legs in the first two photos. It looks like it is standing on long stick-like legs, which is an illusion.
The proposal by Nautilus Data Technologies to set up a water-cooled data storage facility at Alameda Point was soundly rejected by the Alameda City Council on June 18. The facility would have pumped over 14 million gallons of water a day through its facility to cool computer servers. The company said water cooling is better for the environment than existing air conditioning technology. But by the time the environmental community was finished weighing in, it was clear that the Nautilus once-through cooling system would have replaced one problem by creating a new one.
The screen on the intake pipe underneath Pier 2 sounded good, until you consider that all the water coming out the other end in the Bay would have been filtered water that would have upset the natural ecological balance. Marine life would have been pasted against the intake screen and periodically scraped off. Tiny organisms would have made it through the screen and potentially been killed by the heat. The heated water at the point of discharge was another big concern, since warming water is one of the conditions in which toxic algae blooms occur.
Open Letter to Mr. James Connaughton
Chief Executive Officer
Nautilus Data Technologies
Dear Mr. Connaughton,
The Alameda City Council has granted you approval of moving forward with your data storage facility at Alameda Point. Please reconsider the route for discharging warm water from the cooling system. Instead of heading south under the Bay Trail and through the harbor near the ferry maintenance facility, send the water discharge pipe north to the Oakland Estuary.
Great Egrets are commonly seen wading along a shoreline, in marshes and wetlands waiting for fish to come near before catching them with a quick thrust of its bill.
Great Egrets primarily eat small fish. However, their diet can also include reptiles such as lizards, amphibians, birds, small mammals, shrimp, worms, dragonflies, beetles, water bugs, and grasshoppers.
This particular Great Egret decided to stroll into the old campground at Alameda Point in search of food. It walked slowly up to a Rosemary bush and stood there for about five minutes, occasionally making slight head movements, before plunging its head into the bush to catch a lizard.
After holding the lizard in its bill for a few minutes, it gulped down the lizard and proceeded very slowly to another bush.