by Charles Kennard
A charming hand-drawn map of part of the College of Marin campus has recently come to light, giving us a glimpse of birdlife in 1940, prior to the concretization of Corte Madera Creek. This was a time when there were “paved highways and the interurban electric [railway] line providing transportation facilities” for the Marin Junior College, as described in the San Rafael Independent.
Forty-one bird species were recorded—some perhaps with questionable accuracy. Relatively few riparian species or water-birds are featured: kingfisher, killdeer, great blue heron, black phoebe and rough-winged swallow. This in spite of a good number of willows, alders, box elders, and understory growing on both sides of the creek. Most of these birds are still seen in Ross Valley gardens; more interesting observations are: wrentit, warbling vireo, Hutton’s vireo, fox sparrow, sharp-shinned hawk, and black-headed grosbeak.
In later life, Harry Clark operated the Larkspur Glass and Aluminum business, and lived until 1994. Harvey “Sonny” Long joined the Marines and sadly lost his life in a Pacific theater battle in the Kiribati archipelago in 1943; a Washington hawthorn tree was planted at Ross school as a memorial to this “outstanding nature student” the following Arbor Day.
Thanks are due to Paul da Silva for bringing the map to our attention, and to Parker Pringle for historical sleuthing.