Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…

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October Bird Walk…

First Saturday in October we were on a bird walk for Terry’s master birding class. As luck would have it, the trip was to his old stomping grounds, Fort Chronkite and Hawk Hill in the Golden Gate National Seashore. Because of his involvement with the banding of hawks with GGRO we have been to this area many times and I have posted pictures from here often over the years. The difference this day was that it was 90° and crystal clear…no fabled San Francisco Fog to be seen. The first time I had seen this landscape with this bright light…



The birders got to work…


Some birds were particularly cooperative…

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After investigating Rodeo Lagoon and the headquarters buildings we ventured up to Hawk Hill…


The blue patch on the right is Rodeo Lagoon from above…


and we could see out to Lands End (I have posted pictures of those same rocks from a different angle here…)


There was a lot of boat activity this day…

and raptor activity…


I, however, started looking for shady spots to get out of the sun…no lack of antique battlements here…


and no lack of killer views of the Golden Gate…


This is possibly the best picnic spot in the Bay Area…or maybe the best picnic…I saw the food they brought in as they passed me on the path…


The money shot…Golden Gate, Alcatraz, Yerba Buena Island with the Bay Bridge and Oakland behind it all…! On a clear day you really can see forever…



Best bridge walk, ever…

I met up with a long-time friend Tuesday (our daughters, who are in their thirties, were in elementary school together), and on a lark we walked the new bicycle trail next to the new Bay Bridge. An excellent adventure, indeed! I not only got to enjoy the clear skies, beautiful weather, and soaring elegant bridge structure but I also learned a lot. Thanks, Amy! Added bonus…15,600 steps on my Fitbit!!

First we stopped by the lobby of the Caltrans office where there is a model of the bridge structure and then we went to  an adapted building which had been part of the maintenance yard but now is where they had held the reception to celebrate the opening of the new bridge. It is decked out with some great murals of the bridge (without the old bridge) and banners of workers who actually built it.

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This is my guide (not as tired as when we ended the walk)…

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A graphic display of how the toll booth used to look…


Then we were off to trek the bridge…

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Removing the concrete of the old bridge…


Nice views of Oakland cranes…


and cormorants…

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Disaster struck…and this is really the major disadvantage of using an iPhone for photos…in the glare I inadvertently activated a filter but couldn’t tell because in the bright light even with an anti-glare film on the surface, I really can’t see what is happening on the face of my phone. I line it up by the blank spaces around the edges of the frame but I can see nothing. I was disappointed at first (what shall we call it…an antique tint?) but then I told myself that all it means is that I have to go back and walk the bridge again to get some better pictures. My Fitbit will love that! I am including some of the pictures anyway because the gap in the old bridge as they tear it down is pretty spectacular…

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Then back down the way we came…


To add frosting to the cake, whipped cream to the hot cocoa, and chocolate to the biscotti…I got an official water bottle…!!!

BLING! So much bling I could not get rid of the reflection in the picture. Now I am really set for meandering!



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Three-bridge day…

Last Tuesday was a three-bridge day as we traveled over to Corte Madera for a retirement party for TM’s boss. He wanted to take the route through San Francisco and then come back by the Richmond Bridge. I got a new app, so the pictures got its treatment (except for the cake…had to show that it in natural form because it was so delish…
Over the Bay Bridge…

On to the Golden Gate…


To the garden and house-with-a-view…


(That is a view of San Quentin and the Richmond Bridge.)
The garden was a riot of roses and other beautifully blooming plants…












I was having myself some Georgia O’Keeffe moments while the staff (most of whom had been with the boss for twenty-five years) ate cake…


That would be mango mousse and chocolate something…I do admit I had a little of each…had to mark the end of the quarter century with the rest of them…and then home over the third bridge…

I used Vintage Photo App…lots of nice layers and textures.


Urban nature…

Oakland, California…

We went on the first field trip for TM’s birding class Saturday morning. Two places close to home but we had never been to either one.

In the heart of Oakland is the Lake Merritt wildlife preserve which we visited first and then we walked through the Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in the industrial part of the city.

Lake Merritt

The Lake Merritt tidal lagoon was the first official wildlife refuge in the United States designated in 1870. This great building sits by its side. (The Bellevue-Staten Building from 1929. Designed by Herman Bauman.) A lovely grey day, teaming with birds willing to pause long enough in their routines for an iPhone to capture them.


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Eddie Bartley, one of the teachers of the class and the leader of the field trip…


Black-crowned Night-heron with American Coots…


Greater Scaup…


A female and two male Canvasbacks with two American Coots…


Black-crowned Night-herons…

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A Cormorant sits on the top branch of this tree…

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Snowy Egret (still can’t believe I got this picture)…


American White Pelicans…

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Greater Egret with a cormorant in the background…

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Middle Harbor Shoreline Park

After great success with birds a Lake Merritt we drove west through the industrial part of Oakland to the Middle Harbor Shoreline Park. Great birding here, too, plus a view of the Bay Bridge from an angle I had never seen it from (the south side). It was a grey day but still a very nice park and on a clear day the view is probably magnificent of the bridge and the San Francisco skyline.


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Canada Geese…


Long-billed Curlew…


This mass of Western Sandpipers, Dunlins, and Least Sandpipers arose in a panic and agitatedly flew around because…


up on the crane tower to the far left, unseen by my human eyes and unseen by my iPhone, was a Peregrine Falcon. Luckily many of the other birders had powerful scopes that they shared. (Pretty sure that is going on someone’s Christmas list for next year!)


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A nice morning in two places that I am sure we will be returning to for viewing and on the way home we stopped for fish tacos. So many examples of those who like to eat fish…we just couldn’t help ourselves.

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The sea, the sea…

I have experienced my share of multi-media art shows. Most notably in the last year was the one in Les Baux, France, where there is an installation in an old quarry…lights, film, music all projected on the sides of bauxite walls. (The second video on this page shows it.) However, on Monday during my “best birthday celebration, ever” (a day of playing around in San Francisco…definite advantages to seeing holiday lights after the holiday…less crowds, sales in stores, etc.) we came across a fishing pier near the Ferry Building that we had never walked on before. It was a beautiful day and a great view so we strolled…

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Even saw a ferry, two sail boats, and a blimp at the same time:


On our stroll back, I noticed some plaques on the railing at our feet. It turned into one of the nicest multi-media events. Standing, looking at the ocean and the City, reading poetry. Really, everything colluded to make the day more beautiful and more happy. (Except there was no fog to amplify the poetry, just as well…although it would not have dampened the spirit!)


There were portions of three poems, well worth looking up the full text I found…

The light of San Francisco

is a sea light

a land light

and then another scrim

when the new night fog

floats in

and in that vale of light

the city drifts

anchorless upon the ocean

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “The Changing Light”


(Score! The Pyramid, the Ferry Building and Coit Tower in one image!)

Who has desired the Sea?—the sight of salt

water unbounded—

The heave and the halt and the hurl

and the crash of the comber wind—hounded?

Who hath desired the sea?—the immense

and contemptuous surges?

The shudder, the stumble, the swerve,

as the star-stabbing bow-sprit surges?

Who hath desired the sea?—her menaces swift as her mercies?

The in-rolling walls of the fog and

the silver winged breeze that disperses?

Rudyard Kipling, “The Sea and the Hills”


To sea, to sea! The calm is o’er;

The wanton water leaps in sport

To sea, to sea! our wide-winged bark

Shall billowy cleave its sunny way,

The anchor heaves, the ship swings free,

The sails swell full.

To sea, to sea!

Thomas Lovell Beddoes, “Song from the Ship”

The whole experience conspired to make me think I might like to walk on that pier in a storm. Almost…

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On the water…

A lovely foggy Friday to cross the new Bay Bridge looking for art at the Legion of Honor. The new bridge is a soaring sight and quite ethereal.




When you get to the Legion of Honor you also get a view of the other famous bridge…IMG_3853

“The Impressionists on the Water” runs until October 13 and it is a beautiful show. No photos in side the exhibit but I was awed by color lithographs by Seurat. Layers of color in the pointillism style, blended by the eye into depth and texture of water.

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Whenever I go to this museum I pop into the room that has their Rodin sculptures. I think of him as old friend, now, because I have been to the Rodin Museum in Paris and I have seen where he lived and worked. This time at the Legion of Honor I caught sight of Camille Claudel and a work she had done. She had been part of the exhibit “Les Papesses”  at the Pope’s Palace in Avignon in June and now I understand why she is usually found in close proximity to Rodin’s work.


Camille by Rodin and Rodin by Camille…


Re-creating statues…


Patterns in the courtyard…

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The view from the front steps…


I am usually so unsuccessful at catching photos of birds that I  don’t try anymore. Good luck this day, however, a little guy was so intent with the water that he was almost hovering for my convenience…

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Rather than head back east in search of lunch, we realized we were not too far from the edge of the earth, so we headed west the few blocks to Land’s End and where the Sutro Baths used to be. It was a wise choice since the fog was starting to lift and we could imagine ourselves “on the water,”  evidently our theme for the day.  We have lived in Northern California for a very long time, but have never been to the Cliff House Restaurant and we were happy to expand our education of historical San Francisco landmarks.



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Playland Cowboy

Playland Cowboy

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Back over that new bridge to home…

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“I am dancing, dancing on the edge of the world”—Rumson Ohlone Song


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Celebration Break…

August 17, 1974-August 17, 2011
A day in San Francisco to celebrate our anniversary with old friends Joyce and John Miller (Joyce and I became friends in fourth grade) who had been at the original event, low these many years ago. Lunch at John’s Grill, Legion of Honor for the Dutch Masters Show, and then dinner at Waterbar Restaurant which had a view to die for.
Over the Bay Bridge


Through the streets of the magnificent city


No views from the Legion of Honor because it was totally socked in on that side of the city, but
dinner looking at this view


Lovely day, lovely friends, lovely man to be married to…