Saturday, January 30, 2010

Paradise Drive, Paradise Beach County Park - Jan. 29, 2010

Walking Distance: 3.1 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 58 min. (12:40 - 2:38 p.m.)
Start and End Point: On (shoulder, pull-out area) Paradise Drive, Tiburon, CA

I was happy to cheat the rain again today. I didn't need my umbrella, but it may have made me more visible to cars.* I first walked northwest (back to Seafirth Rd., where I'd stopped walking yesterday), then turned around and walked southeast. I passed my car, and went south on Paradise Dr. to Paradise Beach County Park. I stopped at the Park for awhile, to walk down into and around the park (out to the end of the fishing pier), took some pictures of pigeons and the Bay. Nice to hear waves lapping on the shore. I walked back to the car, retracing my steps via Paradise Drive.

*Note: Be very careful when walking along Paradise Drive. There are some blind corners where cars may not see pedestrians, and there are no shoulders to walk on in many parts.

Wildlife Sightings:
4 turkey vultures, 1 little brown job (LBJ), 10 pigeons, 5 pelicans, 9 sea gulls, 1 western grebe, and 1 hawk

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tiburon - Paradise Drive - Jan. 28, 2010

Walking Distance: 2.4 miles
Walking Time: 57 min. (2:45 - 3:42 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Street Parking, near Shepard Way and Trestle Glen, Tiburon, CA

This was the third, and last, segment I walked today. From the car, I headed west on Trestle Glen, first north (as far as Mateo) and then south (to Seafirth Rd.) on Paradise Drive. I ran out of camera battery, so no pictures on this segment. I probably covered a lot more ground, a lot more quickly, without all the picture-taking stops, but I did make note of scenery I will try to capture next time.

Wildlife Sightings:
2 little brown jobs/songbirds (LBJs), 1 turkey vulture, 1 hummingbird, 1 rusty screw, and 1 small table in the grass by side of road

Tiburon - Trestle Glen - Jan. 28, 2010

Walking Distance: 2.7 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 18 min. (12:31 - 1:49 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Street parking along Greenwood Beach Road, Tiburon, CA

In this second segment today, I walked to Blackie's Pasture area, and around the park area. Eventually I took the fork of the Bay Trail going up Trestle Glen (double yellow lines indicate surface road/street), and saw some deer munching grass by the side of the road.

There were also several robins (I hadn't seen a large group like this for years) going after clusters of red pyracantha berries growing close to the road. As a child I remember huge numbers of birds (before DDT and development killed most of them off) descending on these berries, getting "drunk" and bumping into windows. Unfortunately, my camera battery died, so no robin pictures.

Note: There was not much of a shoulder on Tiburon Blvd. - Trestle Glen roads, so watch traffic carefully if you walk on this road. 

Wildlife Sightings:
37 little brown jobs (LBJs)/songbirds, 7+ robins, 6 crows, 2 Canada geese, 31 sea gulls, 20 unidentified brownish shorebirds, 19 pigeons, 1 great egret, 1 snowy egret, 2 ducks, and 3 deer

Greenwood Beach Rd. -> Tiburon - Jan. 28, 2010

Walking Distance: 2.5 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 28 min. (10:56 a.m. - 12:24 p.m.)
Start and End Point: street parking on Harbor Cove Way,
end of cul-de-sac, Strawberry, CA

After many rainy days, it was great to see the sun today. I took advantage of the good weather and walked a few different segments. This is the first of three. Most of today's walking took place along city streets (shown as parallel yellow lines on map).

I walked by a marsh area and around a small cove (lots of birds), then southeast along Greenwood Beach Road.

I stopped at the Richardson Bay Audobon Center and Sanctuary.
From the brick patio of the historic Lyford house, there was a great view
of Angel Island and the San Francisco skyline. Also, there was a scenic
little trail going through the woods (old orchard and some redwood trees),
and a small beach I walked down some stairs to reach.

I returned to find some droppings on my car. No surprise, given the large
number of birds in this area.

Wildlife Sightings:
28 ducks, 1 great egret, 5 coots, 2 American avocets, 3 black-necked stilts, 5 sea gulls, 7 crows, 1 turkey vulture, 1 snowy egret, 2 balls (1 basketball, 1 tennis ball), 10 Canada geese, 3 Western grebes, 1 brown pelican, 15 pigeons, and 5 little brown jobs (LBJs)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

E. Strawberry Drive - Harbor Cove - Jan. 23, 2010

Walking Distance: 4.2 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 1 hr., 8 min. (10:55 a.m. - 12:03 p.m.)
Start & End Point: E. Strawberry Drive, Mill Valley/Strawberry, CA

Today I covered much more ground than I usually do, in part due to the rain. This was only the second day I've walked in the rain. However, due to it being an "El Nino" year, I have a feeling there will be more days where I'm juggling an umbrella, a camera, a notebook, and other items, while out on the Bay Trail. Ah well, it certainly will be a nice green spring, from the looks of it.

And, gray, rainy weather creates its own interesting sights and ambience, such as dramatic skylines of San Francisco across the Bay. And if you enjoy watching wildlife along the Bay, ducks and other birds also seem
to do just fine in this weather.

Wildlife Sightings:
36 ducks; 3 coots; 2 turkey vultures; 22 sea gulls; 1 brown pelican; 5 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 Western grebe; 30 unidentified brownish shorebirds; 2 crows; 2 American avocets; 2 Canadian geese; 2 snowy egrets

Seminary Drive -> Strawberry Pt., Jan. 22, 2010

Walking Distance: 2.3 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 1 hr., 9 min. (1:58 - 3:07 p.m.) (estim.)
Start and End Point: Parked on street (near the intersection of
Seminary Dr. and Great Circle - Brickyard Park), Mill Valley, CA

I caught a break in the rain today. I parked near the entrance to Brickyard
Park. And as I walked down the little paved drive to the water and play structure
there, I saw what I thought must be a large bird bronze sculpture.
But, it was two large turkey vultures with their wings fully extended,
facing the sun. I didn't have my good camera with me, but I was able to
take a picture of them from a distance (see image below).

Seeing the vultures, and not getting rained on, were highlights of
today's walk. Lack of rain also made for fewer puddles on the dirt path along Seminary Drive, which was nice (image at right).

Regarding the route that I took, after walking down into the Park,
I walked down Seminary Drive, to the point where I'd ended the last walk. Then, I retraced my steps, passed car, and walked out to the end
Great Circle and Century, which ended in a cul-de-sac.

From this vantage point, I aimed my camera up over the rooftops, and caught a bit of the Bay and views of San Francisco skyline, between the houses.

Wildlife Sightings:
2 Canada geese, 6 turkey vultures, 5 little brown jobs (LBJs), 5 crows, 47 coots, 34 ducks, 3 sea gulls, and 1 ball in the Bay.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Bay Model: January 19, 2010

Walking Distance: N/A
Walking Time: approx. 2 hours in Bay Model
Start and End Point: Bay Model Parking Lot, 2100 Bridgeway,
Sausalito, CA

Today, I walked around the entire San Francisco Bay in one
afternoon -- at the Bay Model that is.

Earlier this month, I tried to visit the (US Army Corps of Engineers) Bay Model on my walk through Sausalito; but it was closed. Today we finally made it inside, and the Bay Model was -- as most people apparently say -- bigger than we expected. It encompasses the South Bay, Central Bay, San Pablo Bay, Suisan Bay, parts of the Delta and more. The idea for this model got its start back in the 1950s. Today, computer modeling has replaced the need for physical research models like this, but I doubt a desktop computer screen can convey this kind of scope. Thanks to Alec for joining me today.

After our walk through the Model, we drove north toward Tiburon,
to scout out the next few walking segments. Due to rain, there was
no walking today.

Wildlife Sightings:
No wildlife today, except likenesses captured in short films, photographs, wall murals and other items.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mill Valley, Strawberry Cove Park - Jan. 16, 2010

Walking Distance: 5 miles
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 17 min. (2:28 - 4:45 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Public shore parking spot, at the end of  
Shelter Bay Drive, near Sunrise Pointe development, Mill Valley, CA

Mount Tamalpais was fogged over; so we were deprived of a great
mountain view. However, I was happy we weren't rained on during
our walk. It was a good day for mushrooms and ducks, and new 
green grass sprouting up after recent rains.

Thank you to Alec for joining me on today's walk, especially given that he had just finished a 50-mile bicycle ride up to Sausalito to join me. (We were going to tour the Bay Model, but it was closed. I'll make it there one day.) 

We walked up Shelter Bay, down Hamilton, over the 101 freeway overpass, down Seminary, and didn't quite make it to Strawberry Point. We got as far as the end of the smaller point before that, NW of Brickyard Park. On the way back we stopped at a local McDonald's near the trail for some water and a snack.

Wildlife Sightings:
14 little brown jobs (LBJs); 6 Canada geese; 24 sea gulls; 23 ducks; 2 great egrets; 18 pigeons (all on McDonalds roof); 2 crows; 15 unidentified brownish shorebirds; 3 coots; 1 Western grebe; 1 snowy egret; and 2 balls.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mill Valley - Jan. 14, 2010

Walking Distance: 2 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 7 min. (2:46 - 4:53 p.m. total time)
Start and End Point: near intersection of Miller Ave. and Almonte Blvd., Mill Valley, CA

It was nice to get a bit of sun today, in an otherwise gray weather week.
I followed the Bay Trail along Richardson Bay, where there were lots of
snowy egrets hunting for food in the marsh grass, past the Mill Valley
dog run and skate park, over the wooden bridge and up the hill toward
Tiburon. Nice views of the Bay, new green grass, trees, and Mount Tamalpais. I turned around to walk back before reaching the Highway 101 overpass.

Wildlife Sightings:
27 snowy egrets; 29 crows; 83 ducks; 11 unidentified brownish
shorebirds (inclu. 1 tiny one); 3 black-necked stilts; 25 sea gulls;
4 Canada geese; 3 great egrets; 4 coots; 39 little brown jobs (LBJs);
1 starling; 1 great blue heron; 1 turkey vulture; and 1 whiffleball

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sausalito - Mill Valley - Jan. 10, 2010

Walking Distance: 5.8 miles
Walking Time: 3 hrs., 37 min.
Start and End Point(s):
1.) Near Gate 6, Marina area, Sausalito, CA (2:54 - 4:32 p.m.)
2.) Public Shore Parking spot, Mill Valley, CA (4:44 - 6:13 p.m.)

Today was a big mileage day, and I finished walking well after dark.
And even though the birds in the Richardson Bay, Bothin Marsh area,
became more difficult to see, I enjoyed seeing lights on the water and
on and under the freeway underpass. This was an area of nicely
developed trail, which made walking in the dark much more
enjoyable than the unimproved city streets or pathways.

Wildlife Sightings:
6 little brown jobs (LBJs); 18 pigeons; 6 crows;
76 sea gulls; 2 snowy egrets; 2 great egrets; 21 ducks;
10 unidentified brownish shorebirds; 1 great blue heron;
12 American avocets; and 24 Canada geese

Sausalito - Jan. 9, 2010

Walking Distance: 3.57 miles
Walking Time: 2 hr., 55 min. (between 2:32 - 5:40 p.m.)
1.) 1 hr., 48 min. (2:32 - 4:20 p.m.) street parking, Pine and Bonita
2.) 39 min. (4:23 - 5:02 p.m.) Bay Model parking lot
3.) 28 min. (5:12 - 5:40 p.m.) street parking, along Bridgewater

I was hoping to make it to the Bay Model today, but the building and exhibits closed at 4 p.m. I will have to try again at a later date. I did pass a few marinas, stopped at the small, but interesting Sausalito historical museum, and at the Cibo cafe for a pistachio macaron. I also enjoyed watching a sculptor building free-standing rock sculptures that seemed to defy gravity (see image for two examples). And speaking of sculptures, the two stone elephants (one pictured), near the Ferry boat area, are a classic Sausalito landmark.

Wildlife Sightings:
15 crows; 61 pigeons; 4 Western grebes; 42 little brown jobs (LBJs); 44 sea gulls; 7 cormorants; 2 brown pelicans; and dogs in Dunphy Park

Fort Baker to Sausalito - Jan. 8, 2010

Walking Distance: 5 miles
Walking Time(s): 1:30 - 6:25 p.m. (but with many stops)
1.) Fort Baker (Cavallo Lodge, Mercantile, Restaurant)
2.) Fort Baker - Discovery Museum
3.) Fort Baker - East Rd. - Chapel Steps Trail, and visit to Chapel
4.) East Rd. - Down to Battery, and up along East Rd. toward Sausalito
5.) East Rd. - Sausalito (with 2-3 stops)

Today was a day with many stops. I visited the Discovery Museum for a few minutes, after a very nice tasting lunch at Cavallo Lodge restaurant. (See image for toy museum version of the Bridge and where I was in Marin County/Fort Baker.) Eventually I walked up the hill to East Road, and took a detour through the Eucalyptus forest and Fort Baker Chapel (see images), before heading toward Sausalito.

Wildlife Sightings:
6 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 crow; 1 brown pelican

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Marin, Fort Baker - Jan. 7, 2010

Walking Distance: 2.65 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 50 min. (in 3 segments, see below)
1.) Golden Gate Bridge, north end, Vista Point, Marin, CA (2:28 - 2:56 p.m.)
2.) Fort Baker, Fishing Pier, Marin, CA (3:22 - 4:30 p.m.)
3.) Fort Baker, East Road, Marin, CA (5:08 - 5:22 p.m.)

Today's walk was broken up into several little fits and starts, some areas not covered by red line (area under bridge, fishing pier, jetty, etc.), all scenic. Due to what I'm sure are security reasons, it appears that you can't actually drive under (or get too close to) the base of the Golden Gate Bridge; although I approached this area on foot, first from top down (from Vista Point), and then from bottom up (from Fort Baker). I also walked all along the shoreline of Horseshoe Cove, and out to Cavallo Point and the old Battery Yates area. Looking back into the Bay (which was shrouded by fog). It was easy to see why early explorers might have missed the true Bay contours for years. Today, I stood out there, and gigantic ships loomed out nearby, steaming in and out of the Golden Gate. Last, I parked up on East Road, and retraced steps to where I'd left off at Battery Yates, and then walked up the road a bit toward Sausalito.

Thank you to the man who brought me a map of the Fort Baker area, from the (closed) Discovery Museum.

Combined Wildlife Sightings (from all three stops/segments this afternoon):
1 hummingbird; 5 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 deer; 10 pigeons; 25 sea gulls; 2 tennis balls; 18 cormorants; 38 Western grebes; 6 ducks; 2 brown pelicans (flying together); and 1 blur in a bush.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Golden Gate Bridge, S.F. - Marin, Jan. 3, 2010

Walking Distance: 3.5 miles
Walking Time: 1 hr., 53 min. (4:37 - 6:30 p.m.)
Start and End Point: metered parking, south end of Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA

It's exciting to cross the line into new counties. Especially so when it involves making that transition via a landmark like the Golden Gate Bridge. The wind died down after dark, and there were fewer people/walkers as well. (The bridge closes to pedestrian traffic at 6:30 p.m.) Night lights make for interesting photos
(although the bridge moves, making perfectly focused shots a challenge).

Wildlife Sightings:
2 sea gulls while still light; however, no sightings after dark.