Site icon San Lorenzo River Mysteries


Hello Barbara,

Reading your Bench-land concerns, it does seem that the environmental aspects weren’t part of the planning equation, doesn’t it? This scenario happens too often in many cases all over the world. I dream of Nature copyrighting all her creations, getting filthy rich and consequently be allowed a seat at the decision table.

Have you noticed how the activity rhythm changed in the San Lorenzo River since the gorgeous weather? Down here in the Estuary Stretch, the BUFFLEHEADS and COMMON GOLDENEYE frolic again in abundance. The ones, who had wimped out during the rains and storms in calmer waters, are back and rejoined the braver weather resisters. The MALLARDS arrived in full force, agitating their feathered neighbors with their mating euphoria. The COMMON MERGANSER are here as well, contemplating mate matching.

Before falling in love

This female COMMON MERGANSER cracked me up: she was being escorted by two males while feeding with head under water. She raised her head, checked out the two males, took a liking to one of them, casually moved close to him and floated calmly near him. He got flustered, decided on the feathered male “cave” behavior version: swam in the opposite direction. She watched him and concluded that his behavior wasn’t an acceptable option and raced after him. She caught up, swam sedately next to him, dunking her head leisurely into the water. He just couldn’t take it and turned away from her. She wasn’t having any of that, lowered her head, picked up speed and aimed right at him. He hurried out of her way, but her fiery determination must have won him over: he swam back to her, positioned himself next to her and they swam happily alongside each other upstream. Often I watch females chase the males away, so this feisty female was breaking the mold!!



Lately there has been a juvenile SNOWY EGRET( the legs are not solid black yet), who is convinced that the COMMON MERGANSER will deliver food. At low tide he zig-zags along the shore, following them as close as he can and pecks at their beaks. The COMMON MERGANSERS solve the annoying intrusions by heading into deeper water. The SNOWY EGRET in his meal fever élan, dashes after them, finds himself in chest deep water, flutters back to the shore, screeching loudly. He is amazingly persistent with his meal delivery request.

Hoping for meal delivery…

The levee activity mirrors the river waters: there are new “faces”. Some are bike commuters, walkers, some form groups, who hang out for hours, using the levee as their permanent base. The groups have their own personalities and don’t mix with other groups. Unfortunately good trash housekeeping is not part of their levee etiquette. The other day I passed 2 young men sitting under the Riverside Ave. bridge. One of them was giving himself a shot into his thigh and I said: “ You aren’t using, are you?”. He looked up in slow motion and said: “ No, I am a diabetic.” “ For real?” I asked, to which he replied:”Yeah!”. I kept walking, torn between concerns for his Diabetes and the ‘caught with hand in the cookie jar’ feeling. A couple days after the incident, the Police Dept. arrested 4 men during a levee narcotics sting. He wasn’t one of them and I hope he is okay!

Springy greetings, jane

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