One of my favorite walks on the San Francisco Bay Trail is Crown Memorial State Beach, better known as Alameda Beach. This is a great place to just walk along the Bay on a sandy beach. The walk is 2.5 miles long, with sand dunes and lots of birds. There are sandpipers and sanderlings, ducks, egrets, pelicans, cormorants, and of course, pigeons. Snowy EgretA snowy egret walking along the shore at Alameda Beach, California.
For this blog post, I'm just going to complain about how I've been too tired to do any photography lately. Actually, I've just been lazy. Or something. But I did go out and take some pictures of this cool little parade that happens once a year in San Francisco. It's sort of like this religious thing, except that it's not. What was I talking about? Oh, well, just have a look at the pictures:
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I recently went on a photo walk down at Point Isabel in Richmond. Spring was in the air, and I decided that I wanted to take pictures of California Poppies. This time of year, these iconic flowers are blooming everywhere. To be honest, flowers are not my favorite subject to shoot, but sometimes I just need to try something new. This is how we learn new things.
Even though I don't feel that these are great flower photos, it was still fun. I took these photos along Hoffman Marsh at Point Isabel Regional Shoreline in Richmond, CA.
Strangely, I felt that the standout image from this shoot was this one of a white morning glory:
The San Francisco Bay Trail at San Leandro Bay is a surprisingly scenic short hike in Oakland, California. San Leandro Bay itself is a small bay between Alameda Island, Bayfarm Island, and Oakland. There are several creeks draining into the bay here, including Lion Creek and San Leandro Creek. This creates a rich but delicate ecosystem. The mudflats are important feeding grounds for shore birds, and at low tide you will see lots of them way out in the distance. At high tide, the shore birds will be huddled closer to the shore, where you can see them better, but please don't disturb them or let your dog chase them.
One notable feature of this hike is Arrowhead Marsh. You can see clearly on the map below, it juts out into the bay and looks a bit like an arrowhead. This marsh is covered in a non-native cordgrass that chokes the marsh and prevents shore birds from feeding. Healthy intertidal wetlands are important breeding and feeding grounds for birds, amphibians, fish, insects, and even mamals. When I visited, there was a boardwalk for viewing the marsh, but it was closed.
There are a few ways to approach this hike. If you take BART to the Colosseum station and walk, you will start at Lion Creek. You can also continue walking south past the airport to Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline, or north past Alameda.
This is a flat, paved trail suitable for walking or biking.
If you are driving, this portion of the trail is just off I-880 in Oakland. There are parking areas at the North and South ends of the trail. (See the map above.) You can get there easily on BART, although the walk around the Colosseum is not the most fun. Just walk North from the Colosseum BART station on San Leandro St until you get to 66th Ave. Turn right on 66th, which will take you across the freeway and straight to the Bay Trail.
Coots and ducks (mallards, surf scoters, buffleheads,) sandpipers, snowy egrets, Canada geese, ring-billed gulls, California gulls. (And much more!)
My favorite part of the annual Saint Stupid's Day Parade on the first of April, is seeing the puzzled looks of the passers-by. No matter how popular the parade gets, the office workers never seem to have any idea what's going on. Anyway, I missed the last two years, so I was very happy to be there today.
Gareth Bogdanoff is an environmentalist photographer exploring the clash of natural beauty and urban life in the San Francisco Bay Area.