Respect Tomales Bay – East shore roadside update

Click the words above “Respect Tomales Bay – Eastshore roadside update” to view this entire post.

The last update of this sort from 13 March may be found here.

Almost 3 months has passed with lots of interesting itmes to share.

As always, click on an image to see a larger version.

The capsized boat first reported here is still laying upside-down, leaking who knows what else into the bay.

As of 25 March, still laying there in the bay. Behind the first house south of Hog Island Oysters. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

As of 25 March, still laying there in the bay. Behind the first house south of Hog Island Oysters.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

On the weekend of 9-10 April, Grassy Point pullout was filled to capacity with these cars. When I stopped to clean up the area, I sadly discovered someone had tossed two live ochre starfish into the road. Both were now quite dead. Starfish have been hammered by a virus the past few years all up and down the Pacific Coast and are only recently starting to rebound.

.

Grassy Point filled to capacity all weekend. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Grassy Point filled to capacity all weekend.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Dead Pisaster starfish tossed into the road. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Dead Pisaster starfish tossed into the road.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Another dead Pisaster starfish tossed into the road. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Another dead Pisaster starfish tossed into the road.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Yes, that is a "disposable diaper" in the foreground. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Yes, that is a “disposable diaper” in the foreground.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Local opinion ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Local opinion
©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Between the almost always open and overflowing dumpsters at Tony’s Seafood

11 April, 2016 Tony's Seafood Garbage bins ©Richard James - coastodian.org

11 April, 2016 Tony’s Seafood Garbage bins
©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

11 April, 2016 Tony's Seafood Garbage bins ©Richard James - coastodian.org

11 April, 2016 Tony’s Seafood Garbage bins
©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

And the dumpster at Nick’s Cove (AKA Miller Boat Launch) seen here on 31 May , also almost always open and overflowing, there is no end of food to attract ravens and gulls to scatter trash everywhere. I am told by County Parks that residents of Tomales and Marshall have been caught dumping household trash in these bins more than once. Full bins mean fishermen make an even bigger mess on the weekend, some of which is blown back into the bay. Please Respect This Place.

Dumspter at Nick's was so full, after it was emptied, this remained. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Dumspter at Nick’s was so full, after it was emptied, this remained.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Dumspter at Nick's was so full, after it was emptied, this remained. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Dumspter at Nick’s was so full, after it was emptied, this remained.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Sloppy filleting  of a halibut, left to attract coons and ravens.

Sloppy filleting of a halibut, left to attract coons and ravens.

.

Here is Nick’s launch dumpster the following weekend

Dumpster at Nick's on Saturday morning 4 June. County man called in to get it picked up to make room, no truck came, more trash dumped on the ground. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Dumpster at Nick’s on Saturday morning 4 June. County man called in to get it picked up to make room, no truck came, more trash dumped on the ground.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Each weekend I pick up the area around the boat launch, sometimes twice. Often I see fishermen unloading all they brought with them which they no longer want, carrying it to the small dumpster. The dumpster that is almost always overflowing, often with countless aluminum beer and soda cans. Last weekend I saw one such man carry at least 25 beer cans over to throw away. “Hi, you know you could take those home and recycle them” I offered. His gait steady, his tired voice replied “I know all about aluminum cans, I work in a can factory”. “Then you know how much electricity is required to make a new can?” Puzzled look. “The more electricity we use, the more CO2 we dump into the atmosphere, the more acidic the ocean becomes, the less fish you have to catch”. Blank stare as he dumps the entire bag of cans onto the over-filled bin, some of them spilling onto the ground as he turns and walks back to his boat. And so it goes…

.

Roadside fishermen still have no respect for the Bay they love to visit.

9 June, Roadside fishermen still leaving lots of trash, bait boxes and now boxes of kindling. They are burning treated wood, no wonder their judgement is impaired. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

9 June, Roadside fishermen still leaving lots of trash, bait boxes and now boxes of kindling. They are burning treated wood, no wonder their judgement is impaired.
©Richard James – coastodian.org


How about we ban fires along this stretch? Bob, is that something you could get rolling? From what I have seen, there is a high correlation between those that build fires and those that leave a mess.

.

Grassy Point visitors seem determined to out-disgust the roadside fishermen at Tony’s.

31 May, Some visitors burned pallets full of nails on the bank above the bay, leaving hundreds of nails and the remains of their bottles they seem to have tried to BBQ. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

31 May, Some visitors burned pallets full of nails on the bank above the bay, leaving hundreds of nails and the remains of their bottles they seem to have tried to BBQ.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Today (10 June) I stopped by to pick up Grassy Point and found a very large, fresh pile of human excrement deposited on the beach below the wide spot. When I say on the beach, I should say in the bay, as it was well below the high water mark covered with strips of brown cardboard stained a different shade of brown. Whoever left the portable BBQ box along with the rest of their picnic items scattered about seems to have disassembled the box to use as TP.

Worry not, no photos were recorded, but I did scrape it up best I could and pack it out.

Please Respect This Place.

Three images of beauty to remind us why we all need to be mindful of how we treat our planet, as well as sometimes gently remind those around us to do the same.

Dunlin ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Dunlin
©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Marbled Godwit ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Marbled Godwit
©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Brown Pelican in ground effect. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Brown Pelican in ground effect.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Previous related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Respect our Tomales Bay” here.

See other posts featuring The Birds of Tomales Bay here.

Birds of Tomales Bay – Remembering Nate Knight

Click on the words above “Birds of Tomales Bay – Remembering Nate Knight” to see this entire post

This morning I paddled from Chicken Ranch to Hearts Desire so I could pay respect to a fine person that left us too soon.

The sky was completely obscured by fog as I carried my gear to the waters’ edge at Chicken Ranch.

Calm wind and a following ebb tide ushered me northward to my destination.

With each pull of the paddle, the warmth from above evaporated the mist that cloaked the beauty that is Tomales Bay.

The usual suspects accompanied me on my journey to pay respect and show support for Jill and her adorable children.

Feast your eyes on the pelicans, cormorants, egret and heron I was blessed to observe today.

If you’d care to help out a fine family, follow this link and donate what you can.

As always, click on an image to see a larger version.

.

IMG_0702.crop

.

IMG_0711.crop

.

Slip to a landing

Slip to a landing

.

cleared for the option

cleared for the option

.

Rotate

Rotate

.

IMG_0733

.

IMG_0734

.

IMG_0755.crop

.

IMG_0756.crop

.

IMG_0758.crop

.

IMG_0775.crop

Pelican feeding frenzy over Bolinas Lagoon

Click on the words above, “Pelican feeding frenzy over Bolinas Lagoon” to see this entire post.

A few months ago, an uncommon event unfolded before my eyes as I drove to my friend Tess’ house for dinner in Stinson Beach.

Hundreds of Brown Pelicans were swarming, diving, squawking as they gorged themselves on a large school of fish below.

Pelicans are an amazing bird to watch. Whether in flight or standing on a rock, they possess a prehistoric, erudite quality that I am drawn to. Seeing 20-30 of them in a long string flying inches over the waves always stops me in my tracks.

You can see other images of Pelicans here

Enjoy!

Click on the rectangle in the lower right corner of the video window to fill you screen.

Views of Tomales Bay, bobcat butt and tennis balls

Click on the title of this post to read it and see a related header image.

After the sad event of the first day of the year, I took my boat up to Nick’s Cove and went for a paddle.

As I walked around picking up trash on a tiny Tomales Point beach, I turned a corner and found myself 20 feet from a small bobcat with it’s back to me, tearing apart a hawk it had just killed. Another hawk on the ground nearby lifted off, leaving me with the wind and a hungry cat that did not know I was near. I dropped down and began quickly to pull my camera from its’ bag. Not quickly enough. The cat turned and proceeded to stare right through me.

For a moment I thought it was going to come after me. Its’ eyes were fixed on me. Each with a dark black iris, ringed by bright yellow. Two black moons transiting two bright suns. A pair of solar eclipses. Both locked on me as it stood over the kill, feathers pasted to its’ chin and face. It seemed to wonder for a brief moment if I were prey or predator. I wondered, too.

All the while, I kept sliding my camera up and out as I asked in my mind for it to hang around for picture or two.

It was having none of this. Dropping its’ head, it grabbed the bird in sharp teeth, gave me one last icy stare and quickly turned to slide up the steep brush covered hill.

Upon walking a few hundred meters north, plucking plastic off the beach, I found three other large piles of feathers. I now call this beach, Bobcat buffet beach.

Bobcat butt

Bobcat butt

Kayak loaded with plastic

Kayak loaded with plastic

Kayak loaded with plastic

Kayak loaded with plastic

Marbled godwit near Walker Creek

Marbled godwit near Walker Creek

Hog Island behind  narcissus

Hog Island behind narcissus

Narcissus covering a hillside on Tomales Point. In January!

Narcissus covering a hillside on Tomales Point. In January!

Brant on the wing, Tomales Bay

Brant on the wing, Tomales Bay

Here are some images from a different paddle from Chicken Ranch nearly to Point Reyes itself during a high tide.

Great egret

Great egret

Bufflehead

Bufflehead

Brown pelican and some gulls at the club

Brown pelican and some gulls at the club

Lone pintail

Lone pintail

The dacha

The dacha

One days' haul. There was much more, this was all that would fit on my tiny kayak. That is my new spare paddle, with my new pet decoy pintail behind it.

One days’ haul. There was much more, this was all that would fit on my tiny kayak. That is my new spare paddle.

Mickey Mouse lawn sprinkler, pintail and two sandals atop oyster grow-out bag. I thought I had snuck up on the bird so I made a picture. Only when I had a look on my camera did I realize I'd been duped. Not the first time.

Mickey Mouse lawn sprinkler, pintail and two sandals atop oyster grow-out bag. I thought I had snuck up on a live bird so I made a picture. Only when I had a look on my camera did I realize I’d been duped. Not the first time.

Nearly fifty tennis balls and only one shotgun shell found. Maybe it is not the duck hunters we need to worry about. Rather, those renegade tennis players. I traded that new quart of 20-50 for a dozen kumamotos. Yum!

Nearly fifty tennis balls and only one shotgun shell found. Maybe it is not the duck hunters we need to worry about. Rather, those renegade tennis players. I traded that new quart of 20-50 motor oil for a dozen kumamotos. Yum!

Speaking of tennis balls, I picked out the best tennis balls from the pile I have gathered over the past 3 years and brought 500 to the humane society of Novato for their guests. That’s right, 500. I likely have another 300-400 in poor shape. They were very happy to get them and assured me they would not let them get into a creek, nor the ocean. After telling them of the large number of irresponsible, sometimes very hostile dog owners that run their dogs off leash at Point Reyes, especially in endangered Snowy Plover habitat, they also assured me that they teach responsible dog ownership at the humane society.

I am told there are about two thousand snowy plovers left along the Pacific coast, perhaps five thousand world-wide. Five thousand! According to the humane society web site, there are approximately 78.2 million owned dogs in the United States. The beaches of Point Reyes are one of the few places where Snowy Plovers attempt to breed and keep their numbers from reaching zero.

Unconditional love. Isn’t that a big reason why humans “own” a pet? Coming home to a face happy to see you no matter what. Who can argue with that? Well, think of all the love and appreciation of those plovers, humans and other species that come after us for keeping one more species from becoming extinct. Ceasing to exist.

I am well aware that not a single dog in the West Marin area chases birds. Their owners have told me so, again and again. But, when people from out of the area bring their pets here and see the locals running their well-behaved dogs off-leash, guess what? That’s right, lots of paws and noses scurrying over the sand. The same sand that is home to precious few endangered plover nests for a few months each year. Nests so tiny and well hidden, neither you nor your dog would know you just stepped on it.

Three Western Snowy Plover eggs in a scrape (nest)

Three Western Snowy Plover eggs in a scrape (nest)

Many, if not all of us out here are here for the beauty of the place. Please try to enjoy that beauty in a non-destructive way that all of us, humans, as well as non-domesticated critters included can live with.

A link to the rules regarding pets at Point Reyes National Seashore can be found here.

I am off to go visit my five pet white sharks now. They prefer to live in the sea, off-leash. We have a long-distance relationship that is working so far. I love them out there, knowing they are being sharks. And they love me here on land, trying to not destroy the place quite so quickly as many humans seem hell-bent on doing.

Birds of Tomales Bay

Click on the title of this post to read it and see a related header image.

The bay was flat and the wind was light. A great day to paddle around and see what is going on.

Black-crowned night heron

Most of the birds spook rather easily, even when I am hundreds of feet from them. So I am learning to keep far away from the large groups of what I think are a mix of sea-ducks, else they lift with a great roar and move to a new location.

Black-crowned night heron

A group of grebes took flight, though one remained, committed to finding food. So I tagged along for over an hour watching and making pictures and video. At first I kept back 30-40 feet and kept my paddle noise to a minimum. Over time that distance shrank and shrank. Eventually the tiny bird would paddle right up to my boat, nibbling at my paddle and the boat to see if it was edible. It was fearless as it swam along. Eventually I had to leave this adorable bird and head over across the bay. It would have been easy to spend the rest of the day watching this tiny bird paddle around and dive for food.

Horned grebe

Horned grebe

Horned grebe….well, it was there a moment ago.

A few boats were out and about, as well as many small to medium sized planes. One large, vintage military twin-radial completely dominated the landscape and shut down any idea of gathering video footage. The cold, dense, calm winter air makes for great flying if you are inside the plane. For anyone outside the plane near, or far, not so great.

Brown pelicans in flight

I came upon a large water-logged log, perhaps eighteen feet long, bobbing in the water smack dab in the middle of the bay. Surely not a good thing to hit with a small Boston Whaler at 30 MPH. Having never towed anything with my kayak yet, I tied a rope to it and tried to pull it out of the shipping lanes. I may as well have tied my boat to a living tree, firmly rooted in the ground. After 2-3 minutes of pulling hard and going essentially nowhere, I untied my rope and wished the log, and all boats venturing near it a good day.

Here is a one minute video of some of the bouncy footage I recorded from my boat.

Pelican yoga, moment of silence for Sandy Hook

Click on the title of this post to read it and see a related header image.

Pelican yoga on Tomales Bay – ©Richard James

This pelican had been sitting on a dock for some time when I floated near and disturbed it. It eyed me for a while before it stood up, defecated, then proceeded to do the amazing stretches you see.

Even pelicans get stiff necks.

Sparky the brown pelican

Click on the title of this post to read it and see a related header image.

NOTE: The following events occurred May/June of 2011.

©2012 Richard James

As some of you know, because I called you for help as the following unfolded,
today while picking up the beach I came upon an injured brown pelican.

Sparky, wings dragging

Both wings were drooping a bit as it shuffled off when I first came upon it.

Pelicans soar over the water looking for fish. When a fish is spotted, wings are tucked back, beak out straight, they dive down and hopefully scoop up a meal in their over-sized pouch. If they are not so lucky, they miss, take off and try again. If they are really unfortunate, they hit the surface of the water at the wrong angle and break a wing or two, or their neck.

This bird was dry and other than the dangling wings (which I believe were broken) looked just fine as it eyed me crouching 30 feet away, admiring the gorgeous lines and feathers. I dropped my bags of trash, sorted out my camera gear and crawled around, awed by the beauty of this enormous bird and recorded images. After shooting pictures of it for about 15-20 minutes, I asked the bird out loud if it wanted me to leave it on the beach or get help. Without hesitation, the bird walked 10 feet towards me and stopped in front of me, staring, blinking, waiting it seemed.

Question answered.

I stashed the large debris I had collected above the high-tide line behind a large log and stowed my camera gear for the hike out. I pulled out one of the large white bags from my pack that I use to hold litter. After straightening the bag so I knew where the edges were, I stood up and eyed the bird before me. I’d have to move quick to secure it.

Up til now, the bird had been very docile during the photoshoot. Now, as I quickly strode towards it, I presented the biggest threat it had seen from me and raised both wings up high and opened its’ razor sharp beak. Closing the distance between us rapidly, I gently draped the entire bird, wings, sharp beak and all within the bag and closed down on it.

Carefully I tucked the wings into their natural closed state. With wings secure, I made sure the beak was closed and wrapped my hand gently around it, then tucked the bird under my right arm and walked to pick up my small bag of plastic rubbish.

Hmm, now to get to my car with a very large bird under my arm.

I could walk south, then east to my car, nearly 2 miles, or, I could walk north about a third of a mile to Ben Davis’ place. I decided to walk to Ben’s and see if he would give me a ride back to my car. If he was not there, I’d walk down his long driveway to the road and hitch a ride back to my car, I hoped.

After walking, occasionally stooping to pick up trash and re-cradling Sparky as I decided to call this bird, I reached Ben’s place. All the way down the beach, Sparky was quite relaxed under my arm, hardly moving. Only when I turned away from the sea to scale the bluff did it become active and struggle under my arm, trying to free itself.

Looking up towards the house, there was Ben, Pat and their nearest neighbor Ernie Spalleta at the bench having a beer, it was Memorial Day weekend.

As I walked up, Ben called out my name to see if it was me, I said yes and that I had a favor to ask.

I told him what I had under my arm and asked for a ride to my car.

He instantly got up and said sure.

Hos tiny dog hopped into the pickup with me as I sat down and sniffed my bundle. Sparky was none too happy about this. I suggested to Ben we leave the dog behind. He handed it to Pat and off we went down the long drive to Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

On the short ride to my car, Ben related that in days gone by, pelican feathers were coveted for fishing lures called “hoochies” and people would often shoot them to get these sought after plumes.

Back at my car I thanked Ben as he drove off and re-wrapped Sparky and packed my things. The bird rested on my lap so I could secure it while I drove back to my place. Sparky left several chalky white deposits on my lap, seat and center console. For a bird more at ease soaring inches off the waves, riding in this noisy metal box was likely not all that comforting. My several calls to friends in the know led me to a place where they rehabilitate wild animals. I hoped they would be able to help out this gorgeous bird. Tiny mites crawled all over me.

Once home, I placed Sparky in a large plastic tub I found on Kehoe last year, covering it with two plastic screens I had also found washed up on local beaches recently. I weighted it all down with a large piece of anthracite I found 2 years ago and got in the shower to wash the bugs off. Being sure to strip my bug infested clothes off while out on the deck where they still sit.

I checked on Sparky as I left for the event I had to attend and there he/she sat, quite calm.

After returning I have checked 2 more times to see the bird has moved to a new position each time and seems to be resting peacefully.

I’ll drive to Wild Care in the morning to drop Sparky off and hope for a speedy recovery.

======================================

Above is all I wrote that evening.

I continued to check on Sparky every 20-30 minutes. Each time all looked fine as it crouched in the large tub acting as home until I could get it to the bird care place the next morning.

At 12 midnight I came out to find Sparky was lifeless, head slumped down on the floor.
I reached in and found the body still warm, rigor had not set in.

Although not surprised, I was still sad. I had hoped to get this bird to where its’ wings could be mended and it could be released. No more.

I later learned that large birds like this, once they break wings, can never be released to the wild. So it is probably for the better. No animals belong in a zoo.

The next day I wrapped the pelican body in the same bag as before and hiked back to the spot I found it. I unwrapped it and left it for the scavengers and elements.

The next day I returned to see what had become of my friend.

Each evening and morning, raccoons, skunks, coyotes and bobcats roam the beach in search of food.

Nature is so beautiful, no lies, no hesitation, no waste, no greed.

Below are some images of brown pelicans from over the years. Click on an image to see it larger.

For Kate