Respect Tomales Bay – TBWC State of the Bay Conference 22-24 Sept.

Click on the words above “Respect Tomales Bay – TBWC State of the Bay Conference 22-24 Sept.” to see this entire post.

The following is an announcement for the Tomales Bay Watershed Council State of the Bay Conference.

The Tomales Bay Watershed Council Foundation is proud to present the seventh State of Tomales Bay Conference on Friday, September 23rd, 2016 at the Inverness Yacht Club.

Join us for this wonderful event gathering local scientists, policy makers, and stewards of this watershed to learn about the state of Tomales Bay and its watershed. This year’s conference is focused on the themes of Science, Policy and Practice in the watershed.

I’ll do a short presentation on my efforts to protect and cleanup the bay over the past few years. Please come if you can, the talks will be at the Inverness Yacht Club.

Registration Required.

Come learn what is happening to protect the bay we all love.

Download (PDF, 930KB)

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.

King tides – video of the highest tide of the year in Tomales Bay

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

13 December was the highest tide of the year and I was out recording it.

NOAA predicted that a 6.58 foot tide would reach Inverness at 11:13am.

Below you will see a 5 3/4 minute video I shot at 6 different locations along Tomales Bay from Chicken Ranch Beach south to the Inverness Store.

While not as exciting as watching endangered coho salmon spawning (see that here), these high tides are, or should be a very sobering event for us all.

If the earth continues responding to humans as it has been, the ocean will continue to rise and what you see on the video will be the normal everyday tide in just a few years.

As I setup my equipment and recorded I spoke with several people, mentioning the king tide and how this was to be the new normal in a few years. Virtually no one I spoke with had any idea of this. Some of these people have homes on the shore, or over (under) the water.

You can learn more about king tides here.

PLEASE NOTE: All of the images and video on this website are copyrighted works, belonging to Richard James. If you do not have explicit permission to use them from Richard James, do NOT use them. Please ask me about licensing them.

Near kayak rental and The Golden Hinde
38.107713° N -122.863002° W WGS84

Near the Inverness Yacht Club – I wonder if that building has a bilge pump?
38.103156° N -122.857720° W WGS84

Near the dacha, the owner was there and had no boots. He waited til after noon to gain access
38.101382° N -122.856399° W WGS84

Launch for hire, aka The boat house
38.100113° N -122.854925° W WGS84

Behind Inverness Store
38.097681° N -122.850816° W WGS84

Get your water-wings on and enjoy. Mostly it is rather quiet, the clip at the store has loud sirens in the background, so watch your volume.

If you have high speed internet, click the full screen icon at lower right, this is HD video.
If you do not have high speed internet, watch it small or go for a long walk while the video loads.