Tuesday, February 23, 2010

San Rafael, Pickleweed Park - Feb. 22, 2010

Walking Distance: 2.2 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 1 hr., 3 min. (4:42 - 5:55 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Canal St., near Pickleweed Park, Library, San Rafael, CA

I skipped ahead one segment and past San Quentin Prison; and I will loop back in that direction this week.

Late this afternoon, I made my way from Pickleweed Park, past Schoen Park, around the Lagoon, and Shoreline Park. Sunset and work back home cut this walk short.

There continued to be some great views of Mt. Tamalpais in the distance (see image at right); and I'm beginning to think that most of the Bay Trail in Marin County will have a view of Mt. Tam. Also pictured is a view out toward the Richmond bridge.

Wildlife Sightings:
9 Canada geese; 8 sea gulls; 50 ducks; cloud of gnats; 1 hawk or falcon (making noises, way up on tower); 2 Western or Clark's grebes; 2 black oystercatchers; 2 crows; dogs and people walking.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Larkspur, Ferry - Feb. 19, 2010

Walking Distance: 2.9 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 16 min. (3:05 - 5:21 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Parked on street (12-hr. spot) near 2140 Redwood Highway, Larkspur, CA

After walking over the freeway overpass, by some light industrial buildings and a kayak rental place, I entered the Larkspur Ferry parking and dock area. I enjoyed watching a large Ferry boat come in (presumably from San Francisco). I continued walking the trail (surrounded by bright green grass this month) along Sir Francis Drake Blvd., passing a tall, steel sculpture of Sir Francis Drake (by Dennis Potton, dated 1990).

I paused to watch some ducks paddling around and nibbling on some green stuff in an area that looked like a tule marsh. You could have drowned in all the bright green grass (which will go golden brown soon enough). I also enjoyed looking at all the acacia trees in full bloom with big clusters of yellow puffball blossoms. (See image of old smokestack peering out from some of them. I passed a small
park area, then walked up Sir Francis Drake Blvd. a short distance (just beyond where the red line ended) before turning around to head back.

On the way back, I went under the freeway and walked for awhile along the water (where Corte Madera Creek comes into the Bay), on a trail that is shown as a purple line on the map (see image above).

Wildlife Sightings:
20 little brown jobs (LBJs); 3 Canada geese; 2 crows; 14 ducks; 28 coots; 2 Western grebes; 4 sea gulls; 1 red-winged blackbird; 6 turkey vultures; 2 snowy egrets; 1 pigeon

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tiburon - Corte Madera - Feb. 15, 2010

Walking Distance: 4.2 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 47 min. (1:48 - 3:35 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Parking spot near 5060 Paradise Dr., Tiburon, CA; and spot on Redwood Highway, Corte Madera, CA

Thank you to Alec for walking with me and setting up a two car system that allowed us to cover roughly double the normal distance (avoiding the need to backtrack, or do a loop back to a single car). It was sunny, warm day, with more green grass and trees in bloom. Definitely feels like spring is in the air.

Lots of bicycles and walkers out today for the Presidents Day Holiday Monday. We walked the remaining stretch of Paradise Drive to San Clemente, and crossed over into Corte Madera. Following the Bay Trail as close to the Bay as possible, we enjoyed some nice views of Mt. Tamalpais (shown). We chose to take an unpaved portion of trail to walk out to a point (looking directly out at San Quentin prison across the way - see image). We then headed back to Redwood Highway, back to where we'd parked car #1, and then drove back to pick up car #2 on Paradise Drive, where we'd started the walk.

Wildlife Sightings:
49 ducks; 2 Western grebes; 6 unidentified brownish shorebirds; 3 great egrets, 8 snowy egrets; 14 sea gulls; 11 little brown jobs (LBJs) plus 1 mockingbird; 5 crows; 8 Canada geese; 1 black-necked stilt; 5 American avocets; 1 big black and yellow bumblebee; 2 lady bugs; 1 coot; 1 hawk; and 1 tennis ball - semi-attached to a (lively) dog - in the Bay.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Blackie's Pasture to Belvedere, Tiburon - Feb. 13, 2010

Walking Distance: 5.9 miles
Walking Time: 3 hrs., 40 min. (1:05 - 4:45 p.m.) includes stops for lunch, wine tasting, birdwatching
Start and End Point: Blackie's Pasture parking lot, Tiburon, CA

A lovely, sunny afternoon for a walk. Bits of fog were gone by the time we arrived in Tiburon. Thank you to Nanette and Judy for joining me. From Blackie's Pasture (parking lot) we followed the shoreline path, and walked out to the end of the Belvedere spur trail (purple line on map). We then walked into downtown Tiburon via San Rafael Avenue, and stopped for a brief wine tasting and lunch on Main Street. We enjoyed watching a Western (or Clark's) grebe mating dance and dash across the water. These are the Olympic synchronized swimmers of the bird world. After lunch, we walked out as far as Shoreline Park, just past the Ferry stop, where we spotted some pelicans, more grebes,  and other birds, then headed back (NW) along Tiburon Blvd., then cut over to the beach and walked along beach and trail back to the car.

Wildlife Sightings:
1 great egret; 2 snowy egrets; 3 crows; 33 coots; 35 Western grebes, 3 other grebes/divers (Clark's Grebe, smaller grebe); 1 white butterfly; 38 ducks (including 3 buffleheads, some ruddy and other ducks); 30 sea gulls; 15 sanderlings; 5 brown pelicans; 18 unidentified brownish shorebirds including a group of tiny sandpipers and a long-billed curlew; and 1 willet.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tiburon - Paradise Drive - Feb. 10, 2010

Walking Distance: .8 mile
Walking Time: 12 minutes (5:32 - 5:54 p.m.)
Start and End Point(s): Parking spots along shoulder, Paradise Drive, Tiburon, CA

I continued to walk along Paradise
Drive headed toward Corte
Madera (undeveloped section of
trail, shown as double yellow lines on map).

Earlier, I passed the street(s) leading to Paradise Cay and Tiburon Yacht Club, but -- as it looked to be private property and was not included on the Bay Trail map -- I did not walk down into this development to walk along the water. However, I may (when I reach Westward Drive) walk up the Ring Mountain trail (shown as an "other trail" (purple line) on this map) when I get there tomorrow or the next day.

As it was getting dark, I tried to cover this somewhat dangerous narrow stretch of curving road as quickly as I could. I thought, once again, that the people who live along Paradise Drive, must enjoy some very nice Bay views. In fact, a few car ports (see image) along this road have a better view than any house I've seen. Lucky cars.

I had a close encounter with some landscaping at road's edge -- not so bad in February, when this palm (shown) added to the vortex of bright green plant life. Soon enough that grass will be golden brown again.

Wildlife Sightings:
1 crow, 1 Robin, and 1 little brown job (LBJ)

Paradise Dr., Mateo Dr. - Feb. 10, 2010

Walking Distance: 1.8 miles
Walking Time: 55 minutes (4:30 - 5:25 p.m.)
Start and End Point(s): shoulder parking, along Paradise Drive, Tiburon, CA

While walking this stretch of
Paradise Drive (shown as unimproved trail
section -- double, parallel yellow lines on map),
I took a small break to walk up Mateo Drive
(a short cul-de-sac up on the hill, off Paradise
Drive - not shown on this map). There was a
nice view of the Bay from the top of Mateo.

Tiburon is a great place to see deer. I saw three of them carefully walking across the street from where I was this evening; they were "hiding" in some bushes. I told them not to worry, and asked to take their picture, and they seemed to comply (and they may have thought I was a little nuts).

Once again, be careful while walking along Paradise Drive. I was walking this stretch as it was starting to get dark and commuters were rushing to get home. In spots it is necessary to walk very close to said cars.

Wildlife Sightings:
2 little brown jobs (LBJs)
3 deer

Tiburon - Tiburon Blvd. - Feb. 8, 2010

Walking Distance: 1.4 miles
Walking Time: 1 hour, 7 minutes (5:15 - 6:22 p.m.)
Start and End Point(s): 2-hour spot on Main St., and spot on Tiburon Blvd., Tiburon, CA

This evening I covered from the Railroad Ferry Museum (Shoreline Park) to the intersection of Tiburon Blvd. and Mar West -- with a stop for tamales, guacamole, and a mango drink at Guaymas (Mexican) restaurant, near the Tiburon Ferry stop/dock.
No photos to show here due to the fact that it was too dark.

Wildlife Sightings:
3 sea gulls

Tiburon - Paradise Drive, Uplands trail - Feb. 8, 2010

Walking Distance: 4.6 miles
Walking Time: 1 hour, 49 minutes (3:05 - 4:54 p.m.)
Start and End Point: shoulder spot, (near 3300) Paradise Drive, Tiburon, CA

From the car, I walked (southeast) past the Bay Conference Center, and the entrance to Romberg Tiburon Center, to the Tiburon Uplands Nature Preserve loop trail (pictured as small purplish loop on Bay Trail map). This is a bit of an uphill hike through the trees, but the views at the top are well worth it.

On the way back down the trail, it started raining, so I made the rest of the walk on Paradise Drive (to Paradise Beach Park) under an umbrella, and trying not to get the camera wet. Ah well, it's hard not to appreciate the green grass and flowers that this rain brings.

 Wildlife Sightings:
1.) Paradise Drive: 1 crow, 4 turkey vultures and 1 ball
2.) Tiburon Uplands Nature Preserve trail:

1 banana slug, lots of different fungi,
wildflowers, plus a few dogs walking their owners

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Paradise Dr., (cont.), Tiburon - Feb. 3, 2010

Walking Distance: 4.5 miles
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 21 min. (3:00 - 5:30 p.m. - less 9 min. driving)
Start and End Point(s): Three different spots along Paradise Drive, Tiburon, CA

Great scenery, but watch your step around those blind corners, and steep drop-offs where there is no shoulder on the road.

I started my walk today near the Roadroad and Ferry Depot Museum, and stopped at the Lyford Stone Tower (an historic monument). A view

from inside the tower is pictured at right.  Further up/north along Paradise Drive, there were beautiful views of Keil Cove and the rest of the Bay in between and behind trees, houses and flowers.

Other than the occasional car and bicycles, it was very peaceful and quiet....just the occasional sound of some run-off water (from recent rains), and the faint sound of waves lapping against the shore below. Very nice.

Wildlife Sightings:
72 sea gulls; 2 cormorants; 3 brown pelicans; 2 little brown jobs (LBJs); and 3 crows