Below the water surface….

Good Morning dear Barbara,

The other day I was delighting myself with one of my favorite river activities: standing on a bridge and watching the river birds swim below the water surface. I don’t know what it is about that visual, but it holds a spell on me, which never tires me. As I look down, I see the COMMON GOLDENEYE foraging along the riverbed. His submerged body appears more streamlined than his swimming shape.The legs kick rapidly, propelling him through the water.

Then the COMMON MERGANSER shows up occupied with his snorkel behavior: head in the water, swimming at fast speed, then head lowers further down, sinking steadily, then disappearing from the surface. His body sleeking out as the rapid leg kicks move him straight down to his food source.


In between these observations I was thinking how I just love your passion for the birds, who are often the “underdogs” in the Wildlife arena concerns. Just the other day we were regretting how little information & studies are available for the abundant  San Lorenzo River bird diversity, who are housed in & along the river. The other water community, the fish, have some fine research, studies & dedicated work under their fins belt.

And then I got busy noticing the birds’ dive sequence: the divers pause their swimming, focus on gathering energy for their next step, which requires lowering head towards water, raising the body’s rear slightly out of the water while legs execute a strong shove-off kick, disappearing underneath the surface, leaving the empty water ring behind.

Diving ring
Diving ring

Each species has their own unique way for the” kick off” plunge, which seems to be determined by their body shape. The EARED GREBE & PIED -BILLED GREBE have to give their derrière an extra shove off effort due the more dainty shaped front part.

PIED-BILLED GREBE's sassy derrière
PIED-BILLED GREBE’s sassy derrière


Whenever I am standing on one of the SLR bridges, I look for fish. You have listened to my memories of standing with fishermen on the bridges, schmoozing & watching the large fish flotillas swim towards the river mouth. Then my memories triggered my extensive report to you of why fish are so compromise @ this point. You were mighty impressed & asked how I knew about that topic. So let me tell you about that :

Over the years I observed less & less fish float by & wondering why, realizing how little I actually knew about fish. So I began my long, windy journey of learning about their life cycle & habitat. Trying the reading approach thoroughly confused me. The material was obviously directed @ more fish informed readers,  which definitely wasn’t my case. I knew I was out of my water, when I read ”fry” & had no clue how or why that term applied to a live fish. Now I know it’s the term for the stage when the fish has to find tiny invertebrates & spawned out parent carcasses to feed itself.

I then started fishing around for interactive human contacts. The Greek Fishgod Poseidon, took mercy on me & plunged me on the computer screens of some of the best fish experts around. These men mentored me w/endless patience, kindness & step by step explanations. Looking back, I have to smile, because @ first I didn’t even know how to phrase my questions in order to receive my information. I can’t tell you how often I felt like a total fool. It speaks highly to these men’s tolerant endurance for hanging in there w/me & my cryptic questions.

This is the reason why you became the lucky recipient of my fish report. It also explains my remark: “The beginning of my learning was to admit I was a fool”. We laughed when I said, that I had forwarded your compliment about my fish knowledge straight over to my mentors & that I was certain they received it.

Here is one of my MENTOR’s promised fish reply to my bombardment of Hatchery questions.

Doesn’t it just blow you mind how many wonderful mysteries the San Lorenzo River harbors? It’s so endlessly amazing….

I told you I would forward you the information about the  


I know you want to put it on your calendar & spread the word about this event.

Big river joy greetings from  jane

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