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Heron's Head, China Basin, Beautiful Bridge - Pahavit's Universe — LiveJournal

pahavit
Date: 8-12-2006 3:09 PM
Subject: Heron's Head, China Basin, Beautiful Bridge
Security: Public
Tags:bay bridge, china basin, field trip, heron's head park, mccovey cove, san francisco
Heron's Head, China Basin, Beautiful Bridge

Today D. and I visited Heron's Head Park in the run-down industrial corner of San Francisco. It's called Heron's Head Park because it resembles a long-beaked bird's head when viewed from the air.

Heron's Head Park is 24 acres of restored wetlands, home to shorebirds and other wildlife. It's owned and operated by the Port of San Francisco and situated next to the Hunters Point Power Plant (now decommissioned). Heron's Head is a unique environment in that it is built on landfill, but is now a thriving tidal salt marsh that is maintained primarily by youth and community volunteers. They help to plant native plant species, remove non-natives, and clean and maintain the wild areas of the park. Heron's Head Park supports over 78 species of birds annually, and is an important rest stop for migratory birds along the Pacific Flyway.

We saw snowy egrets, barn swallows, seagulls and terns (who never stopped screaming the entire time we were there), Canada geese, mockingbirds, brown pelicans, willets, cormorants, and a great blue heron. I was surprised to see the same shorebirds that I usually see near D.'s place, because I think of San Francisco as all built up, paved over, often toxic, and basically hostile to most wildlife. To a great extent that's true, except that along the Bayfront areas being restored these species are retuning and often thriving. We had the place almost to ourselves, aside from a couple of fishermen and dog walkers, and it was very pleasant and peaceful there.

We next took a look at McCovey Point, right across Mission Creek from AT&T Park, where the Giants play baseball. It's home to China Basin Park, a neatly manicured little pocket park right on the Bay, with a nice commemorative satute of Willie McCovey, a memorable Giant from years past. We saw a series of several different tourists posing for pictures sitting on the giant baseball sculptures around the edge of the park.

After dinner D. and I took a sunset stroll along the Embarcadero promenade between the Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge. We got up close and personal with Cupid's Span, a 60-foot-tall bow-and-arrow sculpture by Claes Oldenberg and Coosje van Bruggen. Soon the fog rolled in across the city, raking through the tops of the skyscrapers and turning pink and orange as the sun went down in the west. The lights on the bridge came on and sparkled in the Bay. It was a quiet, magical hour.


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