Sunday, January 31, 2010


I just love Point Reyes Station! So much in fact, that, at times, for two or three minutes, I make plans to move there.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Yesterday's unusually high tide, created reflections in the Corte Madera Marsh, that made me jump for joy. Well, at least try to hop.

Friday, January 29, 2010

My Friend Clover

My Friend Clover's Eye in the Eye of the Beholder!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Muir Creek

Rainy morning in Muir Woods, a couple of days ago. I came to look for spawning salmon, but no such luck. However, Muir Creek, swollen with a week of downpours, was very impressive.
And I have to make a correction. My Senior Bird Consultant informed me, that yesterday's bathing Sparrows, were really Yellow-rumped Warblers. My first mistake of the New Year.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Birds Bathing

This morning Bob H and I hiked up the trail from Big Rock on the Lucas Valley Road. It had stopped raining but the trail was muddy and there were many puddles. Three sparrows were having the time of their lives, bathing and splashing, in one of them. As usual I couldn't identify the birds, especially since they had some bright-yellow feathers. Look closely at my picture, or you might miss the sparrows altogether!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Scoliopus bigelovii

Meet world-renowned botanist Hans R. Here is his own speak ~
Early this morning, trusty umbrella in hand, I ventured to Muir Woods National Monument, there to photograph nature, wondrous and rare. Soon I came upon a lovely wildflower, in the guise of a park ranger. We exchanged pleasantries and I queried the young damsel about secrets of the forest. She confided in me that the New Year's first native flowers had appeared and were close at hand. Their name ~ Scoliopus bigelovii, a.k.a. Fetid Adder's Tongue. She told me where to look and how to recognize the flower. Then she added a warning ~ The "Fetid" part of the flower's name comes from its foul smell! Attached is a picture of three of these beautiful flowers. Fortunately, my cold protected me from smelling anything ~ sweet or foul!
Here are a couple of quotes ~
Mary Elizabeth Parsons in The Wild Flowers of California, 1897:
"When the flowers first open they stand erect, held in the shining chalice formed by the two sheathing green leaves. Later the leaves open out, showing their beautiful blotched surfaces, and the three-angled flower-stems become limp and twisted."

John Thomas Howell in Marin Flora, 1949:
"One of the first plants to bloom after the beginning of the rainy season, the Fetid Adder's Tongue thrusts its queer ill-scented flowers from the pair of closely rolled leaves as soon as they are above ground. By the time the attractive brown-spotted leaves are developed, the first fruits are already well formed at the ends of elongate sprawling twisting pedicels. This remarkable plant was discovered by Bigelow at "Tamul Pass" in 1854."

Monday, January 25, 2010


Lichen on a rock, yesterday, in Tennessee Valley. I love lichen, and there's a lot to love! Here's what I found on the web ~

lichen structure showing fungus hyphae around algal cellsStructurally, lichens are among the most bizarre of all forms of life. That's because every lichen species is actually composed of two, possibly even three,  distinct species of  organisms. One species is a kind of fungus. Usually the other  species is an alga, but sometimes it can be a photosynthesizing bacterium known as a cyanobacterium. Sometimes all three organisms are found in one lichen.

The drawing above gives an idea of what fungal hyphae wrapping around alga cells might look like at the microscopic level. Since all three kinds of organism are profoundly different from one another, what lichens do is almost like merging a shrub with a dog to produce something that looks and lives unlike either shrub or dog!

Hmmm? I hope you understood all that!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

More Buckeye

My artist-friend Elli, in Vienna, is soooo talented. No sooner did she receive my Buckeye picture, than she E-mailed back the attached cartoon. I'm really lucky to have such a truly gifted friend.


I submit this picture, taken at the Ponds three hours ago, with apologies to one of Japan's greatest. Of course, Hokusai's θ‘›ι£ΎεŒ—ζ–Ž (1760 - 1849) paintings and woodcuts were of waves, but I think this morning's clouds bore them a striking resemblance. And if, per chance, you are not familiar with Hokusai, I beg you to Google him right away.


I'm not necessarily exclusively a fair-weather photographer but, I'm stuck indoors, waiting for my Honda to be serviced. Meanwhile I still wanted to send out a picture taken today, and here it is.
My older (not by age, but by time on my list!) subscribers will remember last year's boring pictures of a Buckeye that I raised from a seed (don't eat - it's poisonous, though the Indians leached it and then did eat it). After a few months I thought it had died. For some reason or other, the pot, with the "dead" tree wound up at Bob H's house. To his surprise, he noticed signs of life a couple of weeks ago, and brought the tree back to my house. No sooner did it land on my veranda, than it began popping leaves.
I'm planning to drill a hole in the floor of my upstairs neighbor's veranda in a few months. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I was being something of a wuss on my walk this morning. Not wanting my camera to get rained on, I left it at home. Fortunately, when all else fails, I can always resort to my kitchen window. So there. Or here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

No Name Photo

Canada Geese at the Ponds.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Red-winged Blackbird

Male Red-winged Blackbird in breeding plumage, from last Saturday's hike around the Ponds. These guys like to show off their bright shoulder-patches, which can be displayed in varying amounts. The females have been short-changed, and wear plain brown feathers. Life ain't fair! On the other hand, modesty shows class!

Monday, January 18, 2010

More Boidz

I love to see the blackbirds perched on the wires at the Ponds. I watch them as they find a spot to land, always leaving enough space from their neighbor to be able to fly away. Just as we park in a striped parking lot, leaving enough space for doors to be opened. The more I get into bird behavior, the more complex and mysterious it becomes to me!
Someone, asked me, without giving me an E-mail address, where "the Ponds" are.
They are at the end of Smith Ranch Road, at McInnis Park in San Rafael. Their proper name is Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District Ponds.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I know that butt-shots are strictly taboo, but I could not have shown that unbelievable display from the front. The dress, designed by none other than Cristobal Balenciaga, will certainly be on everyone's lips come Oscar-night.
The model is Isabella, the beautiful Great Blue Heron, shown here yesterday, as she landed at the Ponds after an exhausting flight from Paris.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Grass, swaying in the wind this morning at the Ponds, made me think of a symphony.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I would love to tell you that I took this picture while scuba-diving at the Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, in northeast Australia. But, like George Washington, fessing up to his father about having chopped down the cherry tree, I, too, cannot tell a lie.
I believe that, what we have here are White Worm Coral Mushrooms, supposedly edible, though I haven't tried them. Bob H and I discovered them on the trail around Lake Lagunitas last Sunday. A great variety of mushrooms were in evidence, a result of the recent rain.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Not my typical Daily E-mail, but it seems that today the horrendous situation in Haiti takes precedence. Tens of thousands of people have perished in the earthquake, and tens of thousands more are threatened by starvation, lack of water, disease, lack of sanitation, and lack of medical help. This happened in one of the poorest, if not the poorest, nations on earth. Each one of us has a responsibility to help. This is important. Don't put it off. I made donations to the American Red Cross and to Doctors Without Borders. Tomorrow I will resume my daily pictures and inane comments. Today my heart bleeds for the unfortunate victims of the natural catastrophe.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


It seems to me that we haven't had a reflection-shot in quite a while. So here we go. This one is from Lake Lagunitas, taken last Sunday.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Great Blue

The Great Blue Heron blended into the trees in yesterday's heavy fog at Lake Lagunitas. Great Blues often stand motionless for minutes at a time. And they are not very skittish. I was a little startled when I spotted the bird. Fog presents a wonderful opportunity for photographers.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Unwarranted Concern

Another foggy morning at the Ponds. It was cold and windy and I didn't see another soul. Seven Turkey-Vultures were circling overhead. I became a little alarmed as they seemed to be following me. Was there a reason for their behavior? Did they know something about me that I didn't? Probably sensing my concern, they reassured me by calling "carry-on, carry-on". I did carry on and made it safely back to the parking lot without an incident!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dinosaur or Croc?

An extremely heavy fog shrouded Lake Lagunitas this morning when, from behind a tree lurched a creature, both fierce and frightening. Was it a dinosaur or a crocodile? Who knows what lurketh in the shadows? No time to call in Guy Noir, Private Eye. My knee-jerk reaction was to yank my camera to my eye and shoot (yes, shoot). And whaddayaknow ~ the flash made the creature turn tail. We (Bob H and I) were safe, and I am here to tell the tale.
No, Photoshop was not called to assist. The pixels you see are the original, genuine pixels.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Without reservations it's practically impossible to get a good seat. That's why I always advise to call ahead.
A few days ago at the Ponds.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hunting for Breakfast

Probably a Northern Harrier hunting for lunch at the Ponds, a couple of days ago. I love watching these guys/gals darting through the air. I wonder how fast they fly, but I know they get from one end of my field of vision to the other in a matter of seconds. Northern Harriers capture small birds and mammals with a sudden pounce. They have a piercing whistle that sounds like eeeya. One of these days I'll bring a folding chair to a good viewing spot and just sit in wait of that perfect shot (fat chance)!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It takes a worried man to sing a worried song

Somebody please tell me if you think I've finally gone bonkers and over the top. I'm beginning to see photo-ops everywhere. As was the case with the broken glass in one of the Fairfax Pavilion doors. Should I rush to a shrink? Or maybe, just maybe, my eyes have been shut until now, and there really is beauty and art in broken glass. Perhaps I should become a Buddhist? Or contemplate my navel? Or simply continue what I've been doing? Sometimes I worry, for as long as minutes on end, about what will become of me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

7:15 a.m.

7:15 this morning at Bear Valley. I'm so glad I brought my camera!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Early Morning

Early morning at the Ponds.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Canada Goose, Flight 101

After four years of concentrated and intensive research, I have finally completed my manual "Flight Instructions for Canada Geese". This will serve as the text for CG Flight 101. The accompanying picture is an excerpt from the manual, and demonstrates some of the basic wing positions required from the learner. Following the instructions and illustrations in the manual closely will guarantee the student successful flight, provided, of course, that he/she is an able-bodied, healthy, Canada Goose. The $124.33 (+tax) manual is available by contacting my E-mail address. A Spanish-language edition is in the works. And please stay on the computer, since your money is important to me.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Lotta Boydz

Blackbirds sitting on a transmission line tower on Highway 37 this afternoon. Probably getting ready to go ninite!