Saturday, January 5, 2013

Mill Valley, Bothin Marsh - Sept. 8, '12

Walking Distance: 3.0 mi.
Walking Time(s): 1 hr., 37 min. (4:45 - 6:22 p.m.)
Parking: Shoreline Office Center, Muir Woods Shuttle parking area (weekends and holidays only), Mill Valley, CA

After enjoying a seaplane flight from Seaplane Adventures earlier this afternoon (see previous entry for more details), my feet back on the ground, I headed north - northwest, to walk the San Francisco Bay Trail along Bothin Marsh in Richardson Bay (shown as a solid red line trail on the Bay Trail map insert).

This area was great for spotting ducks and birds of many types, including a large number of black crows late in the day. White (Snowy and Great) herons stood in shallows, motionless for long periods of time, waiting for just the right moment to grab a bite of dinner in their beaks. And, more than once this evening, I saw them being successful -- ingesting tiny wriggling fish or crustaceans.

I walked passed a few buildings (Shoreline Office Center), under the large Highway 101 underpass, to the trail. Today's walk encompassed stretches of paved (asphalt), bike/pedestrian path, and areas of packed dirt. I also crossed over three, wooden bridges (2 small and 1 larger) this evening. (Note: this area can experience some local flooding in the winter/rainy season.)

I did take a short detour from the Bay Trail to walk a narrower, unpaved path through a sensitive habitat area, part of a small peninsula extending into Richardson Bay. (No dogs were allowed on this path.) There were a few trees here and some scrub, surrounded by marsh, and it may be muddy in wet weather, but this detour did afford some nice views of the Highway 101 bridge crossing the Bay.

If you are a dog owner, you may be put off by the signs asking that dogs not go off-trail in this sensitive wildlife area. However, many wildlife fans will appreciate your honoring this request. Further north there is a large, dog-friendly park area (on the Bay side) where I saw many dogs and owners.

In this same area (north end of Richardson Bay) was Bell/Ropers (sports) field.

I turned around at the Bayfront Park parking lot (near Sycamore Ave.), and walked back the same way I'd come. The sun was starting to set near Mt. Tamalpais, a towering landmark in Marin County. I enjoyed hearing the rustles and murmors of birds and small creatures settling in for the night.

Wildlife Sightings:
3 snowy egrets, 5 great egrets; 11 sea gulls; 18 ducks; 29 unidentified brownish shorebirds, 12 willets; 40 crows/ravens; 21 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 great blue heron; 1 kite (with another bird going after it); 7 dragonflies; 1 soccer ball; 2 killdeer.

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