Monday, March 26, 2012

Hunters Pt. - March 25, 2012

Walking Distance: 2 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 1 hour, 6 min. (9:49 - 10:55 a.m.)
Start and End Point: Street parking space on Jennings Street, (Hunters Point), San Francisco, CA

It was a beautiful, but gray morning. The rain had cleared up in time for this walk. Due to construction, I couldn't park near the Heron's Head Park EcoCenter entrance, but close enough -- I found street parking on Jennings St., and then walked up a short sidewalk that was hemmed in by a fence and a long row of sandbags on one side to get to the Park.

The EcoCenter looks more complete than when I passed by here almost two years ago. It was ecologically designed to capture rain water runoff. However, parts of the trail leading out to the Bay were blocked off, and the trail may have been closed altogether. No one was around that I could ask. I walked out to the end of Heron's Head point and back. I'm enclosing an aerial shot of this point from Google Maps. It's not hard to see how this park, extending into the Bay between Lash Lighter and India Basins, got its name.

I then cut over to the packed dirt/sand trail that dead-ended in a fence -- the site of a former power plant site that was being remediated. (De-polluted?)

If this sounds a bit gritty, it was not that bad. I turned around at the fence, and walked back to a bridge that crossed over the channel and walked south to Whale Tail park. I call it that because of the whale's tail that was incorporated into the design of the playground. I followed the trail to its end (a tiny asphalt cul-de-sac with a faded red/pink anchor symbol painted on it, and I turned around to head back the way I came.

On the way back to the car, I walked across the street to the intersection of Jennings St. and Cargo Way, to visit "Bay Natives" -- a nursery specializing in native plants. I bought a few for my upcoming "Walking the Bay" photo exhibit. I may not be able to invite any shorebirds to attend, but plants have no choice; they sit where I haul them -- in this case to Canessa Gallery in San Francisco, for the month of April.

And now, I will proceed to add too much text, just so I can get the large number of pictures I took to load and fit properly on this page. Ever since Google "upgraded" blogger a few years back so that it could accommodate fancier HTML schemas, arranging pictures within a post became somewhat of a nightmare. I'm delighted to have a blogger-based site, but I wish they'd fix this issue.

Wildlife Sightings:
31 ducks; 2 Canada geese; 46 sea gulls; 15 coots; 6 little brown jobs + 8 finches; 3 killdeer; 8 unidentified brownish shorebirds (3 medium, 5 smaller size); 1 Western/Clarks grebe; 1 American avocet; 3 black-necked stilts; 1 snowy egret; 9 cormorants; sound of a clapper rail; 3 pigeons; 1 mockingbird; 2 crows; 2 snails; a few characters.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

SSF to Brisbane - Mar. 18, '12

Walking Distance: 3.8 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 1 hr., 57 min. (9:42 - 11:39 a.m.)
Start and End Point: Public shore parking spot, behind Marriott Residence Inn, South San Francisco, CA

From the small public shore parking lot, I headed north on the paved (asphalt) stretch of Bay Trail (shown as a solid red line on the Bay Trail map), and across the bridge toward Brisbane.

Relatively early on, there was a fork in the trail, where the paving ended, and there was a packed dirt stretch (shown as a yellow line on Bay Trail map). I followed the path that curved right/east, which joined up to another paved (asphalt) section soon thereafter. This path then curved north toward Brisbane Marina, passing a small playground area along the way.

It was a blustery day out at the north end of Sierra Point today. A lone fisherman was hunkered down at the end of the fishing pier being buffeted by gusts of wind. To avoid getting blown around myself, I kept my head down (except for a brief look up at Candlestick Park/Point to the north) as I headed west; and in so doing, I lost the trail for a minute. Note: one needs to cut left/south through buildings/near Tsing Tao bldg., to continue on paved trail, otherwise you'll end up in a packed dirt no-man's land, save what looked to be a make-shift dirt bicycle stunt hill.

When I reached a stoplight with Marina/Sierra Point, I turned right, and walked under the Highway 101 underpass to Sierra Point Parkway (shown as double red lines on map). Note, there are no real sidewalks here, so proceed cautiously if you're on foot, when crossing freeway on-ramps and off-ramps. Once on the other side of the freeway, I walked northish along Sierra Point Parkway -- parallel to the lagoon on right/east/tree and bush side of road. Gusts of wind were blowing dust and pollen around, which was not that fun. But, traffic was light, except for two different pairs of Canada geese that were sitting near the road on the lagoon side, a group of willets (shown), and one or two cars.

I turned around just beyond the intersection of Sierra Point Parkway and Lagoon Way; and I walked back on the opposite/west/Brisbane Lagoon side of road (pollen allergies were less bad). I walked back under Highway 101 again (snapped a picture of a few pigeons), and turned right toward the Radisson and Homewood Suites/Hilton hotels. I stopped briefly at Homewood Suites to pick up some information, and then returned to the trail and where I crossed from Brisbane back to South San Francisco; crossed the bridge, and arrived back at the car -- just as a light sprinkle of raindrops started falling. Good timing.

Wildlife Sightings: 155 ducks; 12 coots; 42 Western/Clarks grebes; 3 UFO grebes/divers; 19 sea gulls; 5 crows; 1 hummingbird; 2 cormorants; 7 pigeons; 4 starlings; 4 Canada geese; 1 tern; 14 little brown jobs (LBJs); 10 willets; 1 partly deflated basketball

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

South SF - March 11, '12

Walking Distance: 8 miles
Walking Time: 4 hrs., 59 min. (11:31 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Parked: Public shore pkg. lot, at end of Belle Air Rd., SSF, CA

I started today's walk by the bay under overcast skies, but it did clear up later in the afternoon, and I enjoyed this entire stretch of mostly paved (asphalt) trail (show as a red line or more developed trail on the Bay Trail Map).

From the public shore parking lot, near the wastewater treatment plant at the end of Belle Air Road, I walked north over the first of a few bridges. I passed the Colma Creek Habitat Restoration Project, and over a second bridge;

I passed by the Bay Trail Overlook spot and several Genentech buildings. I also walked by a Bike Share rack -- with a row of bicycles ready to go. A few steps away was Pt. San Bruno.

I stopped for a restroom break, and lunch at Oyster Point Bait, Tackle and Mini-Mart; and I took my microwaved chicken tamale with hot sauce out to the patio to enjoy.

After lunch, I continued along the water, and wound my way around a detour near Oyster Pt. Marina (near what I'm assuming was a ferry terminal/stop.)

It was interesting to walk around the inlet where Liberty ships were made back in the World War II era.

I passed two Marriott hotels, and turned around before the pedestrian/bicycle bridge to Brisbane.

As this was a longer walk, and a nice afternoon, I took a few 5-minute rest stops on a few benches, to enjoy bay views, on the way back.

In the last stretch of the walk, I startled a feral black and white cat; and when the cat ran across the trail to run into a bush, it flushed a handsome looking falcon or hawk into flight. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to act fast enough to capture this on film. However, I did snap one or two shots of hummingbirds feeding on flowers in bloom on the way back.

Wildlife Sightings:
6 UFO grebes/divers; 12 Canada geese; 23 sea gulls; 5 pigeons; 4 bumblebees; 155 unidentified brownish shorebirds (UBBs), 120 tiny UBBs; 4 black-necked stilts; 182 coots; 1 pillbug; 154 ducks; 29 American avocets; 1 tern; 27 little brown jobs (LBJs); 4 hummingbirds; 28 blackbirds; 45 starlings; 6 crows; 1 snowy egret; 1 snail; 1 small caterpillar; 2 white butterflies, 3 black and yellow butterflies; 1 dove; 1 feral black and white cat; 1 falcon/hawk

Monday, March 5, 2012

South SF - March 4, 2012

Walking Distance: 2.1 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 1 hr., 4 min. (4:28 - 5:32 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Public parking lot, off North Access Road, South San Francisco, CA

I ended my walk yesterday just south of the San Francisco International Airport -- where there is one of the larger gaps in the Bay Trail, for security and other logistical reasons. Today, I picked up the trail at the north end of the airport -- off North Access Road.

I parked my car at the Samtrans Peninsula public shore parking lot. I walked around this leaf-shaped, mostly paved (asphalt) peninsular trail, and, having finished a last stretch of dirt trail and returning to the point where I started (the stem of the leaf shape), I took a right turn onto North Access Road. From here I was walking west on North Access Road, where there are some nice views of the water with the hill in the distance that was engraved with the white letters: South San Francisco.

I crossed over a small bridge (noticing what I think was the same barnacle-encrusted, upside down shopping cart in the water that I saw a few years ago on my first walk around the Bay); and a minute or two later passed a large parking structure, then jogged right and then left toward Airport Boulevard.

In a few blocks (just past a Costco gas station), I turned right off South Airport Blvd. onto Belle Air Road -- a short street that ends in a cul-de-sac, at the Water Quality treatment plant, and a public parking and trailhead area that led to the next section of Bay Trail.

I realized, however, that I will have to come back next weekend, to finish walking another section of road (shown as red, and dotted red line on Bay Trail map). Given that is adjacent to a relatively major Highway 101 interchange, I may not see much in the way of wildlife, but I'll wait and see.

Wildlife Sightings:
20 sea gulls; 106 ducks; 33 unidentified brownish shorebirds (UBBs), 47 tiny UBBs; 25 American avocets; 6 black-necked stilts; 1 ladybug on a green leaf; 5 little brown jobs (LBJs); 3 Canada geese; 3 doves; 3 bumblebees; 1 hummingbird; 1 hubcap; 1 starling

Millbrae - Mar. 3, '12

Walking Distance: 5 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 14 min. (8:34 - 10:48 a.m.)
Start and End Point: Public Shore parking spaces (bay side of st.) just north of Burlingame Wastewater Treatment Plant, Burlingame, CA

After parking in a public shore parking space near the trail, I first walked south to the spot where I left off last weekend. After reaching that spot (the City of Burlingame Wastewater Treatment plant), I headed north, passing Bayside Park/Fields (across the street) along the way. I walked to the end of the paved (asphalt) trail (shown as a red line on the Bay Trail map), over a rickety wood "bridge" that was a series of planks laid down on the mud creek bed. This crossing took me to a parking lot, behind some commercial buildings.

I traversed the parking lot, sticking close to the bay, but I didn't get very far before reaching a second creek (north of the Holiday Inn, and Max's restaurant). These little creeks aren't shown on the Bay Trail map.

This area was somewhat passable -- but was shown as a dotted line on the Bay Trail map, indicating that there was not a developed trail currently in place. If you ride your bike through here, I'd stick to (Old) Bayshore Highway all the way through this area.

When I reached this second creek that emptied into the Bay (that wasn't crossable), I walked along the creek back (west) toward (Old) Bayshore Highway (a freeway frontage road). I walked (on a sidewalk) north along Bayshore until I reached the Bay Plaza building, where I was able to turn right and walk through their parking lot to the Bay (Trail).

I continued north, past Fandorin and Benihana restaurants, and crossed a small bridge that was adjacent to the City of Burlingame Shorebird Sanctuary -- which did indeed have a nice selection of ducks, shorebirds, stilts and avocets poking around in the mud, at low tide, looking for food, when I passed by.

There were also a few different hotels that I passed, offering lots of choices for an overnight trip in this area. And I also enjoyed passing an old movie theater (which looked closed).  The design looked like it was from the 1960s, and when it was built it was likely might to look quite modern for the time, with interesting lines and shapes -- i.e., not a tilt-up rectangle. An awning advertised a Caribbean restaurant, but I think that was closed as well. If I passed by here again in another two years this complex might well be gone.

One restaurant that I passed, The Elephant Bar, had a menu that was posted in the back so that it faced the Bay Trail -- very handy for passers-by, who might want to stop for a bite to eat, or something to drink.

I crossed over a second metal bridge, and kept walking, passing through Bayfront Park/parking lot, to the end of the trail -- a small paved loop that ended at the Millbrae Gate.

As the map seemed to indicate a walk up Millbrae Avenue, I turned (west) on Millbrae Ave. (shown as double yellow lines on the map -- indicating it's more of a busy street than a trail; so proceed with caution). I turned around at the Highway 101 interchange, and walked back to Old Bayshore, and then followed the trail back to the car.

On the walk back, I saw four teenagers gawking at a live crab that had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time (too close to passerbys). I hope it made it back to the water.

Wildlife Sightings:
80 tiny unidentified brownish shorebirds (UBBs), 25 small UBBs, 343 medium UBBs, 8 willets; 241 ducks; 1 UFO grebe; 58 sea gulls; 4 crows; 4 snowy egrets, 1 great egret; 7 Western/Clarks grebes; 12 coots; 7 little brown jobs (LBJs); 8 pigeons; 1 dove; 1 black-necked stilt; 96 American avocets; 4 Canada geese; 1 tennis ball; 1 starling; 1 crab

Friday, March 2, 2012

Burlingame - Feb. 26, '12

Walking Distance: 2.6 miles (estimate)
Walking Time: 1 hr., 5 min. (3:35 - 4:40 p.m.)
Start and End Point: near Kincaid's restaurant parking lot, Burlingame, CA

In this second walk of the day. I covered the two circular trails (shown as red lines on Bay Trail map) around Burlingame. The smaller of these two is a rough loop shape around Anza Lagoon, with Kincaid's restaurant at the southeast end, and the Embassy Suites at the northwest end. The larger loop encompasses sidewalks (or bike path) along Airport Boulevard. Note: You may be walking in the bike path alongside cars if you're a pedestrian in one very short stretch with a lawn.

I walked north along the bay along the larger loop first, passing a film crew along the way. They let me  gingerly step in between lights and cords to continue along the trail. The Bay Trail is full of surprises. I continued northwest to the City of Burlingame Wastewater Treatment plant, before turning around and heading back toward Anza Blvd. and a short stretch of Airport Blvd., then finishing the Lagoon loop and walking southeast along the rest of Airport Blvd. to Bay View Place and back to Kincaid's.

Normally, I would have stopped at the Kincaid's or Embassy Suites, for something to eat or drink. But I had to rush home. Both places offer some seating/dining areas with views of the Bay.

Wildlife Sightings:
51 ducks; 2 cormorants; 19 sea gulls; 2 unidentified brownish shorebirds (UBBs); 8 crows; 5 coots; 8 starlings; 1 little brown job (LBJ)