The holiday season has been hectic for me, and I needed to get out and get behind the camera. Traffic is crazy lately, and I’m not the only one who notices. Driving is unpleasant, and taking the bus is not much better, because you still have to sit in traffic. BART is a better option, unless you get stuck on a crowded train returning from San Francisco. I was starting to think that traveling in the Bay Area just wasn’t worth it anymore. But I needed to get out, so I took the bus to Alameda and walked the length of Crown Memorial State Beach. And boy, was it worth it. I felt more relaxed than I have in more than a month.
The beach is home to thousands of shore birds, all hunting for a meal in the surf. I Saw lots of sanderlings, dowitchers, godwits, and more on the sandy beach. I may have even seen a pair of avocets, but they were too far away for me to get a good look. Shorebirds are notoriously hard to identify, and I end up spending hours looking over my photos trying to correctly identify the birds I saw. But they are so much fun to watch. The tide was going out as I walked along the beach, exposing more and more sand for the birds to forage through.
On the other end of the beach, at Crab Cove, the shorebirds gave way to hundreds of ducks, coots, and buffleheads. I even say a black crowned night heron fishing along the rocky shore, and of course, there were seagulls everywhere.
As I watched the sun set over the marina, I felt more at peace than I had in several weeks. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season had me stressed out, but one walk on the beach was all I needed to help me relax.