Alameda’s Birdwatchers Share Crab Cove Tally

At last weekend’s birdwalk around Crab Cove, members of the Bay Farm Nature Connection saw a great array of bird species and sub-species. And they were kind enough to pass on some photos and notes.

Ralf Stinson, who captured the nice images with his camera, says the poor duck shown above is suffering from “angel wing,” also known as “slipped wing,” “crooked wing” or “drooped wing.”

“This is a disease that affects waterfowl (geese & ducks) in which the last joint of the wing is twisted with the wing feathers point out,” Stinson explains.  “It is an incurable anatomical condition which is acquired in young birds due to a high-calorie diet and low in vitamin D/E and manganese.”

The best evidence for the cause of the disease points to human feeding waterfowl white bread, according to Stinson. “It is very rare in birds that are away from humans,” he adds.

Also last weekend, members of the birdwatching group saw many birds in “breeding plumage,” aka sporting special layers and/or arrangements of feathers for spring mating time — like this Eared Grebe.


And for those arm-chair birdwatchers eager to know about the wildlife at Crab Cove, the group did put together a tally of what they saw:  Bird List_3-06-10[1]

Many thanks to Ralf and all the other birders!


Alameda’s New Gardening Group (Part II)

More details are emerging on Alameda’s Backyard Growers, a new community gardening group that’s holding its kick-off event this Thursday from 6-7 p.m. at High Street Station coffeehouse.

Amanda Maclean and Janice Edwards are the organizers. And they have a blog up with more details about the green-focused organization.

“There are a lot of people and neighbors with gardens, who are interested in supporting newbies and experienced gardeners,” said Amanda.

The aim of the grassroots network, she says, is to help residents grow plants, fruits and vegetables. Once the produce is ripe, hopefully, it can be shared with others —  including those who turn to the Alameda Food Bank for help.

“We want it to be fun, so we are asking neighbors to plant produce, too. This way, we can grow food as a community, eat some, and then give some away to create an even greater community,” Amanda said.

The group already includes about 20 members. It’s in contact with the food bank’s Executive Director Paul Russell, so such plans can be realized.

Flyers about the March 11 kick-off event are up at hardware shops, gardening stores and book shops around town, so maybe this grassroots effort can blossom as planned.

“It’s really about building a growing community,” said Amanda, no pun intended.


Alameda’s Got a New Gardening Group

According to flyers up around town, including one posted at Pagano’s Hardware, Alameda has a new gardening group — which is meeting this Thursday, March 11, from 6-7 p.m.

The group calls itself Alameda Backyard Growers. It plans to build on the “planting the seed theme” at its first meeting, set to take place at High Street Station coffeehouse at 1303 High Street.

For more details, call 510 282 5249 or 510 402 8834.

Seems like it’s a great time to get planting. Spring is upon us, and for those of us in need of help with our green thumbs (or brown thumbs), this group could be just what the planting doctor ordered.

More details to come.


Alameda’s Churchward Pub to Host Benefit

There will be more than drinks, sports and relaxation going on this Saturday, March 6, at the Churchward Pub — formerly the Pop Inn — on Park Street.

From 9 p.m. until closing, the bar will ask patrons for $5 that will go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. And a DJ will be there playing music for those who want to dance or listen — and to encourage lots of Alamedans to drop in and contribute.

Bar owner Joe Churchward says that his mom Diane was asked by some East Bay resident to host the fund-raiser, and that’s how it got organized.

Try to turn out for the cause if you can.

The Churchward Pub has been very supportive of local causes, like Dance for a Cure, a breast-cancer fund-raiser event held last year.

The bar is located at 1515 Park Street, near Lincoln Avenue.

Note: On March 8, event organizer Teresa Fimby-Christensen, an East Bay chiropractor, said that $1,300 was raised. Congratulations to Teresa and the Churchwards for staging such a successful event.


Alameda Images on Display at Library

Here’s a look at the Alameda Harbor Bay Ferry through the eyes of artist John Kammer, whose work is now on display at the Alameda Free Library on Oak Street (at Lincoln Ave.).

An opening reception was held at the library for Kammer on March 3.

Kammer is a native of Atlantic City, N.J., and he moved to California in 1988.

His style, he says on his website, is a blend of realism and impressionism.  And he aims to capture the “glowing transparency of the California coastal light.”

Kammer’s work has received awards on both coasts, and his art can be found in collections and galleries of the East and West, as well.

Kammer says he is very partial to Alameda’s Victorian homes and coastal vistas, which are some of his most common themes.

And the community is certainly privileged to have the fruits of Kammer’s work to help us better appreciate such themes.

As the painting below shows, Kammer loves to work outdoors and has practiced the “plein air” style for decades.


Alameda’s ‘On Camera’ Event in Progress

A group of 48 adults and 24 teens gathered at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts (at Lincoln Ave and Paru Street) on Friday, February 26, for the start of “Alameda on Camera 2010″.

They each got a small slice of Alameda, or rather a piece of a map of Alameda, to photograph over the weekend — including this blogger.

Many got to photograph the waterfront, while others did commercial and residential areas.

And now, these amateur and professional photographers/artists are in the process of looking over their weekend shots of the Island.

The group members have until the end of the month to turn photos they took last weekend into “art.”

This art will be shown during a public exhibit at the center from April 2 to May 2.

For any painters out there, the Frank Bette Center is hosting a new event on April 17:  “Images of Alameda,” which needs submissions.

Paintings made outdoors in Alameda may be selected to be shown (and sold) as part of the April 17 fundraiser at Rock Wall Wine Company (on the former Alameda Naval Station), which will raise money for the center and for the Alameda Hospital Foundation.  

The deadline for entries is March 19.


Alameda’s Newsstand Gets New Faces

Alameda’s newsstand at Park Street and Santa Clara Avenue has some new faces. And judging from the nice-size crowd picking up their Sunday papers from the pair on February 28, this is a welcome development.

Carlos Casteneda is now working there each day, and his wife Veronica drops by, too. They see lots of people stopping by to pay their respects to the former newsstand staffer Larry Trippy, who died February 9 of a heart attack at 60.

“I knew Larry for years,” said Carlos, who has worked for the “San Francisco Chronicle” as a deliveryman.

While Carlos knows that he can never replace Larry, he is eager to meet and great Alamedans with a warm smile and a kind spirit. And he plans to be at the newsstand seven days a week.

He and his wife live in Oakland.  

Meanwhile, the outpouring of sentiment at the newsstand for Larry continues.