Thursday, June 30, 2011


My best bet is that it was a California Carpenter Bee that I photographed on Tunstead Avenue in San Anselmo this afternoon. All I know for sure is that it was big, black, and shiny.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

American Painted Lady

There were hardly any birds at the Ponds this afternoon, so I had to switch gears and concentrate on smaller critters. Hearing of my mission, this American Painted Lady butterfly, always ready to oblige, rushed over and posed for me. Did you know that it is the most widespread butterfly in the world?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


There was only one Sam. Everyone in the San Francisco Bay Area running community knew who was meant when the name was mentioned.
My friend, Sam Hirabayashi, passed away peacefully last Friday, at the age of 84, the victim of complications related to cancer.
Sam's major claim to fame was running, and he still competed just a few months ago. Everyone always commented on how he ran like a high-school kid. Despite his age, he was forever looking for ways to improve his performance.
In truth, I cannot comprehend that Sam is gone. A year younger than Sam, I envied him for his athletic prowess and good health. I guess you just never know ............
I believe that Sam died without regrets. A few years ago, he married Eve Pell, a former Dipsea Race winner, and I know that these were some of the best years of his life.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Some of you love to hate my Rock-Faces. Some tolerate them. And a few like them. Well, I want you to know that I can handle it all.
For the nurdy statisticians among you - today's masterpiece measures 1-5/8" high, and weighs in at 1-1/4 ozs.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Double Dipsea

Yesterday I took pictures of the Double Dipsea Race. I stationed myself in Stinson Beach, where the race starts and finishes, after turning around in Mill Valley, 7.2 miles away. Runners also have to climb almost 2,000 feet twice! About 600 runners did the race, which is handicapped by age and gender. In my picture you see one of the groups at the start of the race. Alex Varner, runner #3, in the center, finished in third place.
Modest though I am, I cannot let the opportunity pass without mentioning that, in my younger days (ending when I turned seventy-five) I ran twenty-four Doubles (as the race is affectionately called).

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mrs. Quail

The other day I had the temerity of sending out a picture of Mr. Quail, without the missus. You should have heard her cuss me out yesterday. So here, trying to make amends, is a picture of the lovely lady. I hope this will pacify her.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Matilija Poppy

These gorgeous flowers grow in back of a house along the Corte Madera Creek. They always remind me of sunny-side-up eggs.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Canada Geese on Corte Madear Creek

There's no telling where experimentation may lead me. This is just the beginning.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Water Hemlock

Water Hemlock on the Earthquake Trail in Point Reyes National Seashore. Probably the most poisonous plant in North America. It is said that it was an extract of this plant with which the Greek philosopher Socrates was poisoned.
Now that I've alarmed you, let me confess that, what I photographed, was either Cow Parsnip or Wild Carrot (Queen Anne's Lace), ancestor of the cultivated carrot. Both quite harmless.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Surf's Up!

There's always something going on in Point Reyes Station.  Recently it was the 2011 Geography of Hope Conference, with related "Reflections on Water" art installations that could (and can) be seen around town.
The attached picture (which I took this morning) shows the painting on the front of the Grandi Building. This brick building goes back to 1915. It once housed a grand hotel, ballroom, and general store. Persistent stories, that it once also prided itself on a brothel, have been proven to be false.
Don't take the above as gospel, my research, though kinda fun, may prove to be a little shoddy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


You bet your sweet bippy I Photoshopped the heck out of it. Including switching it to Black and White. Photoshop critics, please forgive and allow me to be naughty once in a while!
It's a Dandelion seed head. A trip to your favorite Google will bring you all kinds of fascinating and lovely information about the flower, including where its name stems (haha) from.
As far as "bet your sweet bippy" is concerned ~
BIPPY - A jocular euphemism for ass, as in "bet your (sweet) bippy) by Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, an NBC-TV comedy series, 1968-1973.

Postcard from Hawaii


Friday, June 17, 2011

Shanghai Garden Bridge

While hunting for an old photograph, I ran across this long-lost picture, which I took on one of my trips to Shanghai several years ago. I was fascinated by the girl, sitting on her bicycle, reading, unperturbed by the pouring rain. It is actually one of my favorite shots. The bridge was called Garden Bridge when I lived in Shanghai, but I am certain it has been re-named since.

One More No More

Lest my audience get toooo bored, this will probably be the last of the Bluebird pics for a while. But it also has to do with composition and with lichen, which I'm very fond of.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gender Discrimination

The other day I sent out a picture of dad and son Bluebird. The pixels had hardly dried before I began receiving irate E-mails, accusing me of gender discrimination for not showing Mom. In order to keep peace in the family, though not admitting to a pre-meditated slight, I hasten to present another picture, this one with Mom between Son and Dad. These days it is not easy to do anything without treading on someone's toes!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


My apologies to those among you that don't like spiders. I happen to like all animals, big or small. The spider in my picture was patiently waiting for me on the trunk of my car, when I returned from Point Reyes yesterday. It was less than 1/8" in size. What kind of spider was it? Your guess is as good as mine! I consulted my Audubon guide-book and came up with zilch. I'm always blown away when I look at a tiny creature like my spider and see eyes, hairy legs (ugh), etc. A thank you to the sun for adding an artistic shadow to my picture.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I love the juxtaposition of purple and yellow. Mother Nature seems to agree and often places plants of these colors next to each other. To wit these dandelions and wild radishes. I took this picture at the LGVSD Ponds yesterday.


This Quail came out to pose for a picture after seeing me take pix of Bluebirds, Titmice and a Lizard. Vanity wins out!


I love the look of satisfaction on the lizard's face. She/he had just stolen a mealworm, meant for the Bluebirds!

Point Reyes

A major contrast between light and shadow. This morning, near the Point Reyes Visitor Center.

Friday, June 10, 2011


In the Titmouse world, wealth is expressed in sunflower-seeds. They don't even need iPhones.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Bluebirds are back!

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let's sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again
The Bluebirds are back!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bear Valley Trail

A brief respite from bird-pictures. This is the best time of year to visit the Bear Valley Trail in Point Reyes. Everything is fresh and green and flowers are popping up all over the place. The lovely odor of Bay Laurel permeates the air, while song-birds rehearse for their fall opera-appearance. In a few weeks, the magic will be gone, as fine dust from the trail settles on the plants, with no rain to wash it off.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Boydz will be Boydz

About a week ago, Bob H and I went to Point Reyes. High up on a light-pole in the parking-lot we discovered an Acorn Woodpecker, busying himself around a hole. At one point he disappeared into the hole. Bob caught a great picture (see picture on the left) of the bird peering out. I was not so lucky!
Today Bob T and I went to Point Reyes and headed straight for the light-pole, in the hope of seeing the Woodpecker. After a couple of minutes .........................
............... instead of the Woodpecker, a Bluebird* couple showed up, carrying little twigs and grasses into their new "home". In my picture (on the right) they are just discussing how to decorate their nest. Meanwhile, there was no sign of the evicted Woodpecker.
*Positively identified by my Senior Ornithology Adviser, the renowned Dr. J. B.

Monday, June 6, 2011


On our walks, Bob T and I regularly encounter a group of lovely running ladies at the LGVSD Ponds. We have nicknamed them "The Dancing Girls". This morning one of them wore a great sweat-shirt, displaying a group of cowgirls wearing cowboy hats on its back. This sight, plus the wearer's hair, provided an irresistible photo-op! I confess to being partial to cowboy-hats!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Crane Fly

Some of my models are extremely patient. This Crane Fly waited for four hours to have his (I believe it really is a he) picture taken. Crane Flies have three eyes, though I can only distinguish two. Their long legs break off easily. While they resemble giant Mosquitoes, Crane Flies do not bite. They have been described as mosquitoes on steroids!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

(no subject)

Fortunately I hardly ever see dead birds. But yesterday I found this female House Finch on the landing of the floor below my apartment.

So Sad

Fortunately I hardly ever see dead birds. But yesterday I found this female House Finch on the landing of the floor below my apartment.

Them were the Daze

Forgive me for blowing my own horn. But once in a while nostalgia grabs even stalwart moi. As was the case this morning as I stumbled across some old running pictures.
The attached picture shows me crossing the finish line at the Napa Valley Marathon, thirty (yes, that's 30) years ago, March 8th, 1981, to be exact. I was first over fifty (of 58) and 96th overall (of 902 finishers).
OK, I've got it out of my system, and won't bother you with this kind of drivel for the foreseeable future.
The term nostalgia describes a yearning for the past, often in idealized form. The word is a learned formation of a Greek compound, consisting of νόστος (nóstos), meaning "returning home", a Homeric word, and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning "pain, ache". It was described as a medical condition, a form of melancholy, in the Early Modern Period, and came to be an important topic in Romanticism.  So now you know!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Richmond-San Rafael Bridge

I took this picture from the Romberg Center on Paradise Drive in Tiburon. A good view of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Note the Cormorant on the buoy.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Angry Duck

Why is this duck so angry?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More Memorial Day

This gentleman stood off to the side with his sign, quietly taking in what was going on at the Memorial Day services taking place at the Marin County Civic Center. He looked like someone who had plenty of war-stories to tell, but preferred to keep them to himself.
There was something World-War IIish about the scene that compelled me to show the picture to black-and-white.