Friday, March 24, 2023

Easing Into Spring


Colors of Spring on Bolinas Ridge

It was so windy when I set out for Mt. Tam yesterday that I considered turning back early -- for about a microsecond. The beauty of an ebike is that you can always crank up the power if the headwinds get too crazy. Also, other than the wind, it was a superbly beautiful day. 

Richardson Bay was full of scaups with their heads ducked into the water much like the proverbial ostriches with their sand. The avocets and black-necked stilts seem to have moved on for the most part, perhaps heading for their nesting grounds. (On my recent trip to Duxbury Reef I saw more American avocets than I'd ever seen in one place on Bolinas Lagoon.)

My first stop on Mt. Tam was one of the portable toilets at the uphill end of the Bootjack parking lot, where I was amazed to see a flock of calypso orchids. These are probably the most accessible calypsos I've ever seen: you wouldn't even have to get out of your car to view them. I'd planned to check for more along West Ridgecrest Road, but a CHP officer was guarding the gate for a film crew which he said had basically bought the road for the day. Even bicyclists were prohibited. If I'd been hiking I'd have been tempted to check it out and see what kind of car commercial it was (since it's usually car commercials going on up there).

I did find a nice patch of Indian warrior (Pedicuaris densiflora) growing on a mossy slope beneath Douglas firs and madrones. After I took a picture I stood up without looking behind me and cleverly placed my back foot on a slim, wet branch. Time slowed down as my foot slid down the branch, allowing me to savor the absurdity of my predicament, and to realize that I was, in fact, going to end the slide by crashing down on my butt. I got right up and thought no more about it until I got home and felt the painful reminder when plopped myself down in a chair.

A flock of band-tailed pigeons flew away as I approached the trail cams, but a red-shafted flicker stuck around to call out to the forest below from the top of a snag. The little seasonal creek was running strong in the aftermath of the week's rain, and the hills were green. The equinox was less than a week ago, and it definitely feels like spring.

Although I didn't see any ships on my ride north over the bridge, I saw two on my way home. The first one was a pusher tug called the Gulf Reliance. lists it as being Alaska flagged, but it's pushing barges here in San Francisco now. What I'd assumed was a single vessel was actually the tug pushing the barge. Close on its heels was a huge container ship, the Singapore-flagged Wan Hai A08, heading to Oakland after its 2,600-mile voyage across the Pacific Ocean from Taipei, Taiwan, and the ports of Hongqiao and Ningbo, China.

Indian Warrior Wildflowers

Madrone Couture No. 1

Madrone Couture No. 2

Red-shafted Flicker

Calypsos in the Duff

Trade Goods Arriving From China

The black spot off the ship's starboard bow is a wing foiler.

Winging it on San Francisco Bay

Tam Cam Video Clips

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