Monday, May 31, 2010

Tiburon Mariposa Lily

Here it is, the Tiburon Mariposa Lily. Well worth a trip up Ring Mountain. You will also see Turtle Rock. If all this seems familiar to you, it is because Bob H and I took pictures up there last year. Rather than use my own words I quote ~
From the Marin Chapter California Native Plant Society ~
Our logo is the Tiburon Mariposa Lily
(Calochortus tiburonensis).
This extremely rare lily can be seen blooming from the end of May through mid-June among the serpentine rocks of Ring Mountain in Marin County, California. In fact, this is the only place in the world it has ever been found growing in the wild. It was first noticed by botanists in 1971 when the small patch of land on which it lives passed from private into public hands. The plant is now in cultivation and can be seen in botanic gardens.
One more thing about the excursion. We parked at the top of Reed Ranch Road, across the street from a gigantic mansion that looks like a medieval castle. Complete with turrets and barking dogs, a sight to behold. Probably the home of a family of three or four, when they're not touring the French Riviera! Fortunately Marin County churches are providing shelter to a few of the homeless.


Bob H and I were hunting for Tiburon Mariposa Lilies on Ring Mountain, in Tiburon, this morning, when this frisky Damselfly kept popping up on the trail in front of us. We finally got the message - it wanted its picture taken. Looking in my Audubon insect guide Iearned that it was one of three species of Bluets, an appropriate name. Damselflies are similar to dragonflies but the adults can be differentiated by the fact that the wings of most damselflies are held along, and parallel to, the body when at rest. Don't feel bad, I didn't know that either!
And yes, we did find a couple of the extremely rare Lilies. Maybe tomorrow!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sausalito Houseboats

After a short absence I'm back at the houseboats in Sausalito. This picture shows the older, somewhat dilapidated, but more romantic, area. This used to be the scene of lots of parties in the Sixties and Seventies. If houseboats could only speak!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fellow Traveler

In the 40's and 50's "Fellow Traveler" was a pejorative term for Communist sympathizers. Not to worry, my fellow traveler was of a different stripe. The unidentified, attached (ha ha) beetle appeared on the roof of my car when I got back from San Francisco this afternoon. He/she was less than 1/4" in length. Kinda handsome, wouldn't you say?

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Following the suggestion of one of my fans, Kare, here's a new and improved version of Yesterday!



Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Recently I saw the film EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP at the Rafael  Theater in San Rafael. The film, a sort of documentary, is about an anonymous London street artist, named Banksy, who comes to the United States. Soon his artwork is seen everywhere. I don't want to go into the details of the movie, but I do urge you to see it.
Well, a coupe of weeks ago, the Marin Independent Journal published an atrociously lousy picture of a poster depicting a trumpet-player, and suggested that it might be a Banksy. The poster appeared on a wall on Sir Francis Drake Blvd in Greenbrae. Bob H and I spotted it and he took a fuzzy drive-by-shot, since there was not really a good spot for picture-taking, while not getting run over by a car!
Then, by pure coincidence, Bob received and E-mail with the message
I need someone to protect me from all the measures they take in order to protect me. - Banksy, street artist (b. 1974) ".
All this made me decide to take a picture of the poster before it was gone. And today I did just that. Probably not a moment too soon because part of it was already ripped off. As a matter of fact I used some of my trusty putty (which I carry in my wallet) to attach a torn piece to the wall. I had to take my picture at an angle since the sidewalk was too narrow to step back.
Was this worth all the trouble? Of course it was!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sausalito Houseboats

Sausalito houseboats. Since the residents can't have gardens they grow beautiful flowers around their homes. All of the plants really thrive. Living on a houseboat is not easy. Supplies must be carried in, sometimes for quite a distance. In bad weather people are reluctant to venture out. Electricity, water, toilets, are all something of a problem. But there is an air of freedom and independence. And a sense of community. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area you owe it to yourself to play tourist and head for the Sausalito waterfront. The natives are friendly, just don't bug them!

Monday, May 24, 2010

More Babies

Just as I was about to E-mail some of my 199 Sausalito houseboat pictures, which I've been itching to do, I saw my first ever American Avocet babies at the Ponds. Irresistible! Really super-cute, looking and acting exactly like the adults. The latter were not paying much attention to the youngsters, leaving them pretty much to their own designs. My trusty Sibley Guide says that the precocial* chicks can feed themselves and may leave the nest within a few hours of hatching. Wow! I hope the little ones will not fall prey to predators.
*precocial adj. Covered with down and capable of moving about when hatched. Used of wading birds and domestic fowl.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Robin Williams

This morning I took pictures of the SEA TO SHINING SEA in Sausalito. This is a bike ride by a group of injured veterans who started at the Golden Gate Bridge and will ride 4,000 miles across the country, ending their journey on July 24 in Virginia Beach. Robin Williams is seen in my picture, before taking off on his 10 lb bike, to accompany the group to Fairfax.

Friday, May 21, 2010


This morning Bob H and I went to Sausalito to take pictures of houseboats. It was a photographer's dream come true and I wound up taking 199 pictures! I photographed houseboats, wild artwork adorning them, crazy wiring and plumbing, cats, flowers, signs, etc., etc. But when I finally went through my haul, I decided on the attached photo for today's Daily E-mail. I wonder what that says about me?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Spring has Sprung

Spring has sprung and babies are everywhere. It's amazing how fast goslings learn to waddle, swim, and feed themselves. This group presented itself early this morning by the Corte Madera Creek. I have yet to go out on a photography walk and not found something exciting to shoot.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I took this picture of a Bluebird yesterday.

Monday, May 17, 2010


People walking across the bridge at the Concours d'Elegance at the Marin County Civic Center on Sunday. What's wrong with this picture?

Corte Madera Creek

I have always considered the Corte Madera Creek, and the bike path along the creek, to be safe from predators. What I saw last Thursday quickly changed my mind. From now on, I'll watch my step.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Something to crow about

Nobody pays much attention to Crows, unless, perhaps, being annoyed by their scratchy and loud croaking. In fact, they are fascinating birds. To wit,  yesterday, when peering out my (now famous) kitchen window, I observed a crow gathering dry grass in its bill, and then taking off with it. I had never seen this behavior before and had never given Crow's nests any thought.
A Google-search revealed that the American Crow is secretive around its nest. While noise is a mainstay of its behavior in other areas, the nesting site is quiet. Sometimes difficult to find, the nest is placed 18 to 60 feet above ground in a tree near the trunk. Made of twigs, sticks, lined with bark, grass and moss. The nest is about 12 inches in diameter.
Another lesson learned!
My friends Elli and Jean, in Vienna, kept three or four Jackdaws in a huge cage in their high-ceilinged atelier apartment. Jackdaws are similar to Crows.  Both species are very intelligent. Part of the day the birds were allowed free reign in the apartment, responding to their names when called. I'm sure that I will hear from Elli, who is one of my Daily E-mail recipients.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cinco de Mayo

Here's a much-needed change of pace.
I have recently become something of a habitue of La Hacienda, a Mexican restaurant in Novato. A few days ago I received a phone call from its owner, Carmen, who asked me to hurry up, come over, and bring my camera. There was music. I hesitated for at least 14 seconds, then headed for Novato. This was at about 5:30 PM. The restaurant was crowded, and sure enough, there was a band. Two guitars and two fiddles. Los Trovadores, originally from Guanajuato, more recently from Austin, Texas. They serenaded table after table but told me they were not a mariachi but a something-or-other, which I did not comprende. I loved the music and took a bunch of pictures which I presented to Carmen today. I liked the looks of the fiddler on the attached picture, despite his dour expression, and decided to use it for my Daily E-Mail.
I had a great meal and a great time. As I was leaving, Carmen presented me with a yellow T-shirt bearing the words "Cinco de Mayo". It wasn't until I was on my way home that I realized that it was the fifth of May, and that I had just participated in a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Duh! Another senior moment!


The other day, at the Ponds, I took pictures of Cliff Swallows digging up mud to use for nest-building. When I looked at the images on my computer-screen I discovered blue and orange shadows on the shallow creek (did I say that correctly?) I don't have a clue as to how that came about. Ergo it must have been a miracle! Alright, I did use Photoshop, but only to crop and darken the image.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


It's back to my kitchen window, always a different view, always enjoyable. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Finally the parent arrives. But wait just a minute ~ it's not quite that easy!Here's what I learned from "Wild Watch Cams" a website of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife ~
  • The adult heron rarely flies straight to the young, perching instead a few yards from the nest. After a few minutes, the adult goes to the nest and regurgitates predigested food. The oldest and largest chicks take most of the food share by grasping the adult's bill and catching the food.
  • Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    Waiting for Lunch

    Great Blue Heron babies waiting for lunch to be flown in. The babies are about as big as their parents. This picture is again from Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park, a veritable treasure-trove.

    Monday, May 10, 2010


    Convoy at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. How do the goslings know to swim in single file?

    Sunday, May 9, 2010

    Lucy and Geese

    Saturday, May 8, 2010

    Canada Geese

    Four adults and seven goslings. You figure it out! Anyway, this is another of my Stow Lake pictures.
    I tried to install Photoshop today. I have the CD but I don't know my registration number. So I'll have to wait until Monday to try and get some help from Adobe's Customer Service. As of right now I can't crop my pix and I can't lighten or darken them. Travails!

    Friday, May 7, 2010


    My computer crashed on Tuesday. Totally kaput! I wound up buying a new one at Best Buy and had them transfer my files. This took until 11 AM today. Since then I've been fiddling around trying to get everything back. This included phone calls with AOL customer service people in Florida and Brussels. Plus help from Bob H. My new computer is a touch-screen HP. Thus far I'm impressed but still bewildered. It's amazing how dependent I've become. I still have to install Photoshop. Today has been pretty nerve-racking!
    But yesterday was a great day, and the attached picture is from Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. I saw Great Blue Herons nesting, and Canada-Geese taking care of their young. You'll see some of the pix in the next few days. Right now I'm not even able to crop my picture!

    Monday, May 3, 2010

    Creek Life

    This morning at the creek by the Ponds.
    A pair of Canada Geese taking their brand-new offspring for a swim. Meanwhile a Cliff-Swallow above, and one below, have just picked up some mud from the creek-bank. The mud is used for nest-building under the  bridge, whereupon I standeth (or should it read "stoodeth")? It's all about preservation of the species! 
    There are several things that tickle my fancy here. The size of the gosling. Hard to believe it will grow into a big goose. And the skill of the swallows. One minute they are chasing down insects at breakneck speed, the next they are picking up mud, carrying it under the bridge and then sticking it in place for the nest. All of this done with their bill.

    Saturday, May 1, 2010

    Black and White

    Sometimes I yearn for them ole Black and White days! I took this picture today in one of the back-alleys of San Anselmo. I guess everyone of the pipes serves an important function.