east bay

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Rafts of Dreaming Birds

Originally published at The Wild Beat in 2013 I stepped out of a mist and I knew I am. I am what I am. And then I thought, 'But what have I been before?' And then I found that I had been in a mist, not knowing to differentiate myself from things; I was just one thing among many things." ~ Carl Jung, The Red Book I used to think about Jung and bird [...]

2018-02-17T03:02:24+00:00 February 14th, 2018|Birds, Blog|5 Comments

Re-Capturing the Clapper Rail

The show Bird Note just posted an audio piece on California Clapper Rails in San Francisco Bay.  Bird Note covers an eclectic array of bird stories, from behavioral questions to ecological issues. The stories are short audio bits with related blog posts and resources to flesh out the subject matter. As an adjunct to the Clapper Rail story, Bird Note asked if I would revisit my observations of a Clapper Rail tagging operation at Arrowhead Marsh [...]

2013-02-01T00:05:23+00:00 February 1st, 2013|Birds, Uncategorized|2 Comments

Studies in Godwit

Every so often, I get a request for 'derivative works' permission -- usually from a wildlife artist who wants to use a photo as the foundation for a painting or print. I particularly love it when the work is used to benefit an animal cause ... like this painting of a Brown Pelican I photographed in San Francisco. Artist Dan Kent created an ink and watercolor version as part of a wildlife benefit during the [...]

2012-10-04T23:38:53+00:00 October 4th, 2012|Birds, Ecology, Pollution, Uncategorized, Wildlife Rescue|5 Comments

The Origins of Avian Blue

I pulled a few of my Western Bluebird pics from the archives to illustrate the following excerpt. This month's Smithsonian Magazine has a short piece entitled Why So Blue? by Helen Fields, which explores the natural magic behind bluebird blue: [Ornithologist Richard Prum] discovered that as a blue feather grows, something amazing happens. Inside each cell, stringy keratin molecules separate from water, like oil from vinegar. When the cell dies, the water dries [...]

2012-02-29T21:48:15+00:00 February 29th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|6 Comments

The Turkeys I’ve [Almost] Known

This post is a tribute to the wild turkeys who walk among us. Every year, Hugh and I Adopt a Turkey from Farm Sanctuary. And every year, I try to somehow commemorate the awesomeness of the wild turkeys I've been privileged to be among and photograph. The timing of this new episode from Nature on PBS was perfect for this post: My Life as a Turkey. Thanks to an FB friend for the [...]

2011-11-18T19:45:04+00:00 November 18th, 2011|Uncategorized, Wildlife Rescue|0 Comments

So Long, Lake Merritt

Lake Merritt was the first place I touched soil -- or rather, marine sediment --after returning to the Bay Area from Los Angeles. We were perched above Oakland in a hotel room with just a sliver of a view, looking at the lake through what amounted to a castle loophole.

2010-08-07T23:45:37+00:00 August 7th, 2010|Birds, Uncategorized|1 Comment

The Saucy Sailor Boy

I have a weakness for bad lyrics, and 18th century sea chanties like The Saucy Sailor Boy probably take the prize. If you live here in San Francisco, you can take the kids (or just your own self) to Hyde Pier for monthly (and free) Sea Chanty Sing-a-Longs. You'll get hot cider if you bring your mug. I can't say if the sailor boys (and girls) aboard these container ships are saucy. But you can [...]

2010-05-19T02:21:38+00:00 May 19th, 2010|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Not the Easter Bunny

Those ears serve this Black-tailed Jackrabbit well. A jack will usually hear you coming long before you see him. And he can regulate blood flow in these ears to adjust for external temperatures. The Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) -- any jackrabbit -- is actually a hare, not a rabbit. This particular jackrabbit wasn't keen on my presence. What appears as "calm" is anything but. It's a defense mechanism. So, although I could have [...]

2010-04-02T00:05:17+00:00 April 2nd, 2010|Mammals, Uncategorized|0 Comments


I'm keen to see eyes peering out of mudflats . . . the creatures from the bog, the foraging carp, the bullfrog in camo, a Pacific chorus frog in a dewdrop. I shot this photo at Blake Garden, just north of Berkeley in the Kensington Hills. My vision is tuned to anomalies and, sure enough, there was one: a frog basking unnoticed, up to his eyeballs (literally) in spring mud. Blake Garden -- [...]

2010-03-21T11:02:57+00:00 March 21st, 2010|Uncategorized|1 Comment