I see plastic polluting every estuary I visit.

Here in Philadelphia—unlike in California where I live most of the time—single use plastic bags are still in widespread use in retail. If Pennsylvania were to impose a 10-cent charge for plastic shopping bags I’m sure Pennsylvanians would remember to bring reusable canvas bags whilst shopping. It has become so habitual for me that it just seems weird to be in a place where this stupid and needless form of litter is still so common.

Here is a video on the plastics in the oceans produced by the BBC. It is worth the five minutes it takes to watch it. You may find it a bit depressing.

That said, it made me feel good about the efforts I have made over the years to reduce my use of plastic and to pick up the estuaries I visit.


Philadelphia Water

While visiting my grandson in Philadelphia I’ve had time to wonder about the water that comes through the plumbing here.

Philadelphia’s water is taken from (and returned to) the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers. The  Philadelphia Water Department cleans the water before it enters the system and after it’s been used by the city residents. The average Philadelphian uses 87 gallons of water per day. The city as a whole can treat and distribute more than 540 million gallons of water each day.

The City maintains an attractive and informative interpretive center at Fairmount Waterworks, pictured below.

Delaware River Estuary

While visiting my daughter and grandson, I got a chance to walk down to an estuary that is central to the history of the United States, the estuary that connects Philadelphia to the Atlantic Ocean, the Delaware River.

Looking north from the Philadelphia waterfront.  That’s the Ben Franklin Bridge connecting Philadelphia on the left (west) with Camden, New Jersey, to the right (east).

Paddle and Hike

Before heading back to the East Coast to see our kids and grandkid I paddled and hiked to maximize my time outdoors in beautiful fall weather here in Northern California.

Estuarian reader Loren Webster often visits Spring Lake when he visits the Santa Rosa area and writes about it on his blog. He reminds me that it is worth a paddling there.

This morning I saw Buffleheads Ducks for the first time this fall. They winter here. As always, they stay well away from me by flying away, swimming off, or simply by diving underwater. They are elusive birds. The best I can manage from my kayak are grainy photographs.

Similarly, Kingfishers keep a good distance away from human beings. My best photos of them are not too great.

Much less camera shy are Great Blue Herons,

and Canada Geese.

Clearly visible from the lake was this hillside scorched in wild fires last month.

After the paddle I took a five mile hike on nearby Taylor Mountain.

At the summit, I saw burned hillsides.

Tomorrow will be a day of busses, planes, and cars. I’m glad to have had a good helping of the California outdoors.