SCC Open Space Authority

SCCOSA Board of Directors

Rancho Canada Del Oro Open Space Preserve

Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike, 5/16/09

Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike, Mayfair Ranch Trail, 3/14/10

Facebook: Ulistac Natural Area, Santa Clara, 1/12/14

Facebook: Rancho Canada del Oro Hike, Mayfair Ranch Trail 1/18/14

Rancho Canada Del Oro (Pictures by Cait Hutnik)

Bird Count 2006: Rancho Canada Del Oro and Blair Ranch

Bay Nature Institute: Rancho Canada Del Oro

Coyote Ridge Wildflowers, 4/13/08

Coyote Ridge Wildflower Walks 4/18/10 and 4/3/10

Coyote Ridge, 4/18/10 (Facebook)

Coyote Ridge, April 17, 2011 (Facebook Album)

Coyote Ridge Wildflower Walk, 4/13/14

Facebook: Coyote Ridge Hike 4/13/14

Light of Morn: Coyote Ridge

Light of Morn: Coyote Springs Wildflowers

Coyote Ridge Serpentine Grasslands Field Trip

Blair Ranch Hike, 5/9/09

Blair Ranch Hike 3/28/10

Doan Ranch
Page 1, Page 2

Palassou Open Space Preserve Hike, 6/6/09

Melchor Ranch Docent Hike, 10/28/14

Melchor Ranch Public Hike, 11/1/14

Bay Area Ridge Trail Links:

Bay Area Ridge Trail

Bay Area Ridge Trail Council's Facebook Page

Facebook, Goal:Hiking the Entire Bay Area Ridge Trail

Ridge Trail Guidebook

Ridge Trail, Sierra Vista map

Ridge Trail: Alum Rock and Boccardo Trail

KQED Quest on the Bay Area Ridge Trail

Mercury News: Santa Clara County: Lots of Trail, Lots of Gaps

Sierra Vista & Alum Rock Park Links:

Aquila Trail Dedication 8/23/14

Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve

Sierra Vista Map

Directions to Sierra Vista pictures, Sierra Vista Opening

Sierra Vista Trail Dedication 10/22/11

Facebook: Sierra Vista Trail Dedication 10/22/11

Sam Drake's Pictures, Sierra Vista Hike 10/22/11

Ellen Finch's Pictures, Sierra Vista Hike 10/22/11

Sierra Vista Boccardo Trail Hike 8/14/10

Facebook: Sierra Vista Hike 11/23/12

Boccardo Loop Trail, 8/14/10

Other Park and Trail Pages:

Santa Clara County Parks

Guadalupe River Park and Gardens:

Guadalupe River Trail

Guadalupe Creek Trail

Coyote Creek Trail

Bay Area Biking

Los Alamitos Creek Trail

Bay Trails, South Bay

Bay Area Parks

Friends of Santa Teresa Park

Almaden Quicksilver Park

SF Bay Rec & Travel

Calero Healthy Trails Hike, 4/25/09

Uvas Canyon Healthy Trails Hike, 2/21/09

Almaden Quicksilver Wildflowers and Views, Spring 2008, Part 2

Healthy Trails Walk, Almaden Quicksilver 3/28/09

Harvey Bear Ranch-Coyote Lake Pictures, 3/10/07, 3/21-21/09, 4/18/09

Joseph D. Grant County Park 1/31/10

Ed Levin County Park, Monument Peak Trail 3/3/09

The Penitencia Creek Trail

Penitencia Creek Trail, Bay Area Ridge Trail Dedication, 10/25/08

Coyote Peak Sign Dedication, Santa Teresa Park, 10/25/14

Birding Hike in the Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve, 11/8/14

A red-tailed hawk flies overhead.

On Saturday, November 8, 2014, a birding hike was held at the 348-acre Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve at 550 Palm Avenue in Morgan Hill.  This was the announcement for the hike:

Saturday, November 8 | 8:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve, 550 Palm Avenue, Morgan Hill (South of San Jose off Hwy 101)
Enjoy an early morning of bird watching in the beautiful Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. Docents Rick, Beth and Tom guide novices and experts alike around the preserve and show you the best sites for spotting birds of prey and other fascinating fowl. Bring a pair of binoculars or a birding scope and your sense of adventure!

The Open Space Authority purchased the property on 4/9/2010 for $3,481,000 from a group that was planning to build homes on it. The economic downturn changed their plans, so they sold the land to the OSA. This is how the OSA describes the property, which they originally called the Coyote Scenic Lands:

Coyote Scenic Lands on the western edge of Coyote Valley comprises 348 acres of wooded foothills, seasonal streams and grasslands. The land is visible from the valley floor, contributing to both viewshed protection and the greenbelt between Morgan Hill and San Jose. A number of special-status species are known to occur here, including bay checkerspot butterfly, Opler’s longhorn moth, golden eagle, Santa Clara Valley dudleya, smooth lessingia, and most beautiful jewelflower.

The Coyote Valley Preserve is not yet open to the public, but it is being prepared for its opening next spring. This was a chance to get a preview of the preserve, which is why I was there, not being a birder. To be a good birder, you need to have an incredible memory for bird names and details, sharp eyes, and powerful optics, none of which I have. These are pictures of the event and the preserve, with some pictures of birds and an attempt at identifying some of them.

This is the new round-about at the entrance to the preserve, which is on the left. Fence posts still need to installed.

This is a view of the south part of the preserve from the parking lot.

This is the new parking lot. One of the docent hike leaders, Rick, is on the right signing in visitors. The building with the big black vent pipe is the restroom.

Beth and Tom here are two of the docent hike leaders. The birders split into two groups. Beth and Tom leads one of the groups, which I follow. They head up the hills. Rick leads the other group, which explores the valley floor before heading uphill.

The group is looking for birds in the rocks on top of the hill to the left.

Across the field on the northeast corner of the preserve is a hill covered with sagebrush, with serpentine rocks at the top.

There are two lower hills, each with serpentine outcroppings on top.

There are mature oak trees all over the preserve. The group looks for birds perching in the trees.

We approach the hills on the west side of the property. We will ascend the hill on the right, using an old ranch road.

A new trail is being cut into the hillside on the left. It will climb to the top of the ridge in the background. The trail is not complete yet.

We begin to ascend the hill. We are taking a route that is not going to be an official trail in the future, as it's too steep. We could see where the new official trails will be, but were asked not to use them, as they are not ready.

We see two birds perched in an oak tree, a pair of yellow-billed magpies.

This is a view of the valley on the south side of the preserve.

This is a view looking east across the farms of the Coyote Valley.

This is a view looking back from where we started. The parking area is on the other side of the hill in the center.

Thi is a view looking up the valley on the north side of the preserve.

This is a telephoto view of that valley. The fence marks the property line. Beyond it and to the west is the Cinnabar Hills Golf Course.

Sitting on a branch in an oak tree is a golden eagle.

The golden eagle takes flight.

This is a view towards the hills on the south side of the preserve, where a new trail is being cut into the hillside.

This is the middle of that hillside trail.

This is where that hillside trail currently ends.

The hillside trail is under construction. This is currently where the trail ends. This is the digger being used to build the trail.

The group looks towards the southwest.

The group looks towards the northwest.

Down below to the northwest is a new trail.

These are views of our group as we ascend the hill.

This is the view looking northeast.

This is the other group, down in the valley.

As we near the ridgetop, we can see IBM's Silicon Valley Lab on Bailey Avenue.

The antenna-topped hill to the north is Coyote Peak in Santa Teresa County Park.

Beyond the serpentine-covered hill is the Metcalf Energy Center.

This is the top of the serpentine hill.

We make one last steep climb to the ridgetop.

This is the road that runs along the ridgetop.

We can see Mt. Loma Prieta (center), the highest peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

A cooper's hawk shoots by.

We walk along the ridge road to the south.

West of the preserve is a private ranch, which has a small orchard and farm animals.

This is a closer view of the neighboring ranch.

The fence ahead is the preserve boundary. There's a stock pond in the neighboring ranch. There's a trail on the hill in the center, which looks like the Mayfair Ranch Trail in the OSA's Rancho Canada Del Oro Open Space Preserve. The bare hills to the right of it are the Bald Peaks in Canada Del Oro. To the right of that and farther in the distance is Mt. Umunhum in the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve, which is in the Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District.

From up in the hills, we see the other group ascending the hill. We head downhill.

This is back on the valley floor, where we started up the hill.

This fence on the left is at the south boundary of the preserve.

I jotted down the names of some of the birds that I heard being mentioned on this birding walk:
Meadowlark, rock wren, acorn woodpecker, mourning dove, bluebird, spotted towhee, flicker, red-tailed hawk, white-crowned sparrow, golden eagle, ruby-crowned kinglet, Lewis's woodpecker, California towhee, scrub jay, golden-crowned sparrow, junco, kestrel, yellow-rumped warbler, myrtle, wrentit, cedar waxwing, cooper's hawk, merganser, gadwell, house finch, nuttall's woodpecker, and white-breasted nuthatch.

Created by Ronald Horii, 11/3/14, updated 1/26/15