"Sorry," I say sheepishly. "They're — loud." I hurriedly finish my thought and mute my microphone.
It's not everywhere that you can hear the prehistoric calls of Caspian Terns so clearly from your office that you have to apologize for the ruckus to your colleagues over Zoom. It's not everywhere that you can play Where's Waldo? with the resident Osprey when scanning the shoreline every time you take in the view from the window over your desk. It's not everywhere you can watch Western Bluebirds rushedly constructing their nests while on your lunch break.
But at Richardson Bay in springtime, you can. And you don't just have to work there to enjoy its bounty.
It's that time of year when every living thing seems to be joining in a celebration of the returning sun, longer days, and warmer weather. Green fronds unfurl towards the sun as wildflowers peek from the ground, shy at first and then unabashed in their brilliant colors. Towhees perform their two-step in the garden looking to dig up worms while Red-Shouldered Hawks call joyously overhead. Not a square inch of the shore seems vacant at low tide as Willets, Whimbrels, and Marbled Godwits crowd each other in a foraging frenzy. The sky is just a bit bluer, the Lyford House's yellow paint is just a bit brighter when it catches the afternoon sun, and the birdsong is just a bit more cheerful than in months past.
There are hints of this celebration in every whisper of wind, making it nearly impossible to resist the splendor of the outdoors. With life of all kinds bursting at Richardson Bay and elsewhere, the time is ripe to go explore and get reacquainted with the neighbors we haven't seen since winter. Casually surveying the wild landscapes around us by simply being outside is one of the best ways to get familiar with the flora and fauna, and we can even tap into the power of our community to share and gain knowledge. Try using iNaturalist to discover what species live in your neighborhood, test Seek's ability to identify a plant with A.I., or utilize the Merlin app to classify birdsong while you are outside. In many ways, the world is at your fingertips, but it is also right beyond your door; sometimes, a totally unplugged walk can teach you more than you ever could have anticipated.
No matter how you engage with the environment, now is a fantastic time to do so in the Bay Area. After all, a winter of historic rainfall can only promise a historic spring — step outside and savor it for yourself.