Downstream Highlights…

Dear Barbara,

Thank you so much for your kind words. I agree with you: The Blue-green Algae(BGA) is an immense topic to tackle. From what I understand, the BGA is still in the river and the biotoxin levels were going up and down. The rain and lower temperature might bring the biotoxin levels into the safe zone.

Here are some downstream highlights since your sweet touching egg to fledgling PIED-BILLED GREBE story.

For the first time ever we ran into each other by the Trestle bridge while doing our river explorations. There you were coming up the hill, all absorbed w/ bird watching and me ready to dash off on my bike to the Cliff overlook( Point) to watch the breach action. After our short chat, I raced towards the Point, when I noticed a big black bird sitting in a Cliff hallow. I couldn’t figure out who I was looking at. Then it dawned on me that I seeing some kind of an all dark HAWK. I gazed at it with surprise and in a stupor snapped some pics. In vain I tried finding my HAWK in the bird books and on-line and reached out to the MBB Birder group, which resulted in the decision: it was a dark morph RED-TAILED HAWK. Just have to tell you quickly: my friend saw my HAWK 2 days ago in Pleasure Point, where he got a really close look at it, then it flew off 6’-7’ above his head. I am sure it was the same dark morph R-T HAWK, because they are rare plus I love the idea that my HAWK visited my friend.

Calurus Red-Tailed Hawk
dark morph Calurus Red-Tailed Hawk

After finally reaching the Point, I surveyed the scene, which featured many offical looking boats in front of the river mouth, big equipment on the beach, a large group of people in a discussion. With regret I had to take off, shortly after you had joined me. Yes, you guessed right: I went back in the afternoon to check on the breach development. The river mouth was open at 4:30pm and the water level was being monitored since it had to be capped at 5’. Then the sign was given to close the river mouth and the heavy equipment set to work. This effort didn’t look as smoothly executed as the prior river mouth closure and fading daylight added extra pressure. Everybody must have breathed a sigh of relief when the river mouth was successfully closed.

Then on Oct. 30 I saw 6 BUFFLEHEADS swimming on the river. What a thrill to see my favorite migratory birds arrive from either Canada or Alsaka after 2 weeks waiting, wondering what was holding them up. Since then more BUFFLEHEADS are decorating the river. True, the other migratory birds had already started to assemble since beginning of Oct.The EARED GREBES, RUDDY DUCKS, HORNED GREBES  had cozied up to their winter home, swimming and diving in a relaxed manner.

I couldn’t believe my eyes, when I saw this stunning OSPREY shredding his Stripped Mullet dinner w/gusto in the Trestle trees. People asked me what I was watching and were awed by that they got to witness. The OSPREY had been around for the last week & the PEREGRINE doesn’t mind his presence, which can’t be said for any other HAWKS in his trees.

Osprey w/Stripped Mullet
Osprey w/Stripped Mullet

You aren’t going to believe this: last Friday I saw this Kayaker paddle upstream through the river mouth, singing on top of his lungs, heading straight into my beloved BUFFLEHEAD group, sending them into the air, trying to escape him. Next the EARED GREBES disppeared, then the RUDDY DUCKS flew off. Seeing red, I told him that paddling wasn’t allowed on the river to which he shrugged his shoulders and when told he was chasing the migratory birds away, he asked:” Is that bad?”. I wanted to turn into Superwoman, fly off the Trestle and chase him back to the Ocean.

Kayaker heading into BUFFLEHEAD group

Kayaker heading into BUFFLEHEAD group

Instead I watched him flush all the birds off the river paddling upstream. From the 4 RUDDY DUCKS only 1 had returned by Sunday.

So that is my downstream report and how is it going upstream?River greetings from jane

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