Good Morning Barbara,
Yes, indeed! Mating and its consequences, like nest building, are in full swing all around us. As I mentioned before, I am so impressed with the yearly nursery construction that I do my best to support their ceaseless efforts at my home front. Nesting materials as little twigs, leaves, grass and brushed-out dog hair are easily available in my yard since I have never been a “Martha Stewart” gardner. Also I don’t prune bushes/trees during the nesting season in honor of fellow parent peace of mind.
Going down to the River at breeding season can be nerve wrecking: I find myself getting anxious on behalf the ‘nesters’ when I see dogs, people, vegetation and litter control work close to the reeds. It makes me yearn for interpretive Riverwalk signage, which describe who nests when and where along the River. And how the birds behave when undesired intrusion approaches: agitated back and forth movement and high pitch, consecutive vocalization. When people have this bird behavior available, they can modify their human behavior accordingly.
The tide was low to-day and sandy islands in the Estuary Stretch were gratefully visited by gulls, SNOWY EGRETS and MALLARDS. As I walk along the levee the various objects lining the river bed and banks are clearly visible due to the low water level. The vertical rebars, concrete slabs on the river floor are moss covered river construction debris. The big logs, which serve as much needed fish habitat enhancement, are glistening picturesque in the sun. The Gabion wire baskets, filled with levee securing rocks, extend into the river water. Their exposed, sharp wires angling artistically in all directions. All these entities are invisible during high water level and turn into human safety hazards for any unaware, unskilled paddler out on a leisure Lower San Lorenzo River paddle. It’s important that the City & the Public know about these hazards and so Lisa & I send our report ” Dangers of Paddling on the San Lorenzo River” to the City. Click on the link & check it out.
Just as I was ready to go into “bird protection” mode at the Riverside St. bridge, the man w/his off-leash, chasing birds dog, his kids throwing rocks in the direction of COMMON MERGANSER, left the shore. This allowed me to stare up in the brilliant blue sky, where I saw my yearned for white flash. It was ever so brief, that I wasn’t sure my wish had come true.Then more white flickers appeared very high in the sky. The white dots stared descending and then a burst of about 60 CLIFF SWALLOWS swirled around the bridge w/their excited chirps filling the air. Okay! I confess: I got teary-eyed watching the magical arrival of the CLIFF SWALLOWS, the folklore symbol for Spring Messengers.
Before I forget: here is your requested photo of the VIRGINIA RAIl, which was the talk of the last Bird Walk. Pretty good looking Marsh bird, don’t you think?
As I was returning up the Trestle path, I checked one more time for “my” OSPREY, who has been absent due to hunting unfriendly, murky storm water. And there he was, perching on his branch, preening is beautiful feather attire.
I left the River feeling deeply grateful for what Nature had gifted me: The return of CLIFF SWALLOWS and “my” OSPREY. Namaste…jane