Monday, August 19, 2013

San Rafael, Shoreline Park - Mar. 3, '13

Walking Distance: 3 mi. (estim.)
Walking Time: 1 hr., 39 min. (4:31 - 6:10 p.m.)
Start and End Point: street parking near entrance to Jean and John Starkweather Shoreline Park

While I am walking around the Bay in a clockwise direction, I occasionally skip segments and then go back to walk them later. After hiking the southern end of China Camp State Park last week, today I backtracked (south) to walk a stretch of Shoreline in San Rafael that I missed.

This area was north of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (and San Quentin Prison), and south of China Camp and McNears Beach, and included a few miles of scenic shoreline trails (some paved and some packed dirt). Today's stretch is shown as solid, dark green (asphalt) and medium green (packed dirt) lines on the 2012-2013 Bay Trail Map set.

This afternoon's walk at Jean and John Starkweather Shoreline Park was a beautiful one by the Bay, with a winter bonanza of ducks -- more than 200 sighted in less than 2 hours, and great views of the Bay, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and Mount Tamalpais.

The entrance to this trail was located at the NE end of Bellam Blvd., marked by a sign (Jean and John Starkweather Shoreline Park). I followed a paved (asphalt) path toward the Bay and headed north.

Along the way I could see the Richmond - San Rafael Bridge to the southeast, two small islands in the Bay (part of Marin Islands National Wildlife Refuge). These islands are home to egrets and other nesting birds.

I walked north until I reached a small point and turned around. I then walked south, along a packed earth path for some of that time, then a paved path again, passing some light industrial/office buildings. At the south end of this stretch I reached a small beach. I sat down on a large driftwood log to watch birds for a moment. A gate blocked shoreline access further south (toward a shooting range and San Quentin).

On the return walk (north) back to the car, the sun was setting in the west and I enjoyed watching Mount Tamalpais turn into a dark and beautiful silhouette, surrounded by the sunset.

Wildlife Sightings:
209 ducks, including 20 lesser scaups; 24 little brown jobs (LBJs); 2 red-winged blackbirds; 2 UFO grebes; 4 Canada geese; 4 unidentified brownish shorebirds (UBBs); 7 crows/ravens; 5 bumblebees; 5 black-necked stilts; 1 killdeer; 1 coot; 1 cormorant; 3 sea gulls; 2 mockingbirds; 2 doves