Sunday, October 29, 2006

a really lovely weekend

I'm a bit tired so I'm going to rely on photos to tell about the glorious weekend we had.

We took our wheels out to Point Pinole, which is an odd park next to a correctional facility. You can hear birds singing, children playing, and prisoners doing some kind of call-and-response exercising.

I haven't figured out most of the features of my new camera, and we didn't see any particularly exotic birds, but there were some nice moments, such as this white-crowned sparrow drinking out of a bucket of water.

These terns.

There was also a dead California sea lion, bobbing around under the fishing pier. If you must see it, click here. I dutifully reported it to the Marine Mammal Center, and got a call from someone at the California Academy of Sciences. He was hoping that the carcass wasn't very near people, because doing a necropsy is upsetting for park visitors.

We met Kara and Ellen (who is in town for a conference) for dinner, and again the next day for a hike. I had heard that the local tarantulas are visible this time of year, as the males are out looking for love. (Yes, we apparently have tarantulas in the Bay Area!) Some girls want to go shopping or get a pedicure for their birthdays; I wanted to go tarantula hunting!

Robb had read that if you spit on a stick and place it inside the tarantula's hole, the spider will hop on the stick for a drink of water, and you can retrieve the spider from its hole. Robb's trekking poles seemed a likely implement, but we failed to find any tarantulas.

What is notable is how how flexible Robb is, nine months after he broke his back, and had three vertebrae fused together. Robb will probably be paying for it tomorrow, but he walked over a mile today. (The path was initially too rocky for the wheelchair.)

Even on our short hike, there were loads of things to see. Lumpy trees.

Mysterious things growing in trees.

These were the size of pears. Anyone know what they are?

These are oak galls. If I understand correctly, they are the result of plant hormones that are stimulated when an insect tries to lay eggs inside the tree. You can read about them, here.

It was so nice to get out with far-flung friends, and to keep up something like the active life we had before Robb's accident. Even if we can't go for long hikes, we do really enjoy ourselves.


shiloh said...

Hey lisa....what's with the interest in trantulas?

We have them here in Arkansas too. Black,brown and I hear red although I've never seen a red one.


ericaflory said...

i just have to say once again that i LOVE readin your blog & seein all the wonderful pics. we don't have any critters or plants like yall do here in nc. keep it up!

Gina said...

Aw, dang, no tarantula sightings! Now I'm gonna have to photoshop in a few giant hairy spiders with a picture of you guys to show Liam; he's been talking about NOTHING else since I told him what you all were doing this weekend. California looks golden and lovely. You all look golden and lovely.

Happy fall and season of spookiness!


Lisa and Robb said...

Well....maybe the lesson is that you don't always find what you go looking for.

But if that's too dreary for a little guy like Liam, here are some links to our local tarantulas:

Lisa and Robb said...

whoops! the link cut off....just google "diablo" and "tarantula."

jackbear said...

Looks like a buckeye to me...or if not a buckeye...definitely from the chestnut family which buckeyes are a part of (not a chestnut though..has spiney outer case).


Kim said...

great pics Lisa, I'm very jealous,, been looking at specs of the D50 and the Rebel XT, and leaning towards the Nikon..

looking forward to longer hikes for you both, and LOTs more great photos


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