Good Morning Barbara,
There is no doubt! They are cute! And they seem to know it. There they are: out- twisting and out-turning each other in the water and on the rocks. Their flipper splashing delights the audience, who explode with exuberant hollers. The seal heads are raised with that adorable expression on their faces that make kids squeal and melt adults. The hope for one more perfect picture has people oblivious to the tide moving in. The wet shoes, pants are regarded as the necessary sacrifice for the coveted family/friends “WOW!!” response to the perfect HARBOR SEAL pup photo. It’s Seal nursery time along the cliff by the San Lorenzo River mouth.
Down by the Laurel St. bridge a MALLARD couple was supervising their 7 ducklings, who were in continuous food search motion. Watching this waddle family, I was impressed by the casual, yet watchful parental approach. When an adventurous off-spring roamed too far, either Mama or Papa serenely herded it back, while the other one stayed with the well behaved siblings.
As I scan the San Lorenzo River for any remaining BUFFLEHEADS, I hear the RED-TAILED HAWK call. Abandoning the water search, I focus on the sky, craning my neck way back, I finally spot the vocalizer, circling calmly high above the river. An other RED-TAILED HAWK approaches from the West and joins the river circler. They descend and I realize that the newcomer carries a long tailed hunting result in the talons. The empty taloned Hawk rises above the other, with outstretched claws flies down next to the prey clutching one, turns sideways and tries to grab the bounty. This risky endeavor is rudely interrupted by a pesky CROW, who is unwilling to share sky space with these two. The talon un-cumbered RED-TAIL HAWK takes on the CROW, while the other gains distance from that debacle and then the CROW gives up. They revive the circle cruising and all the sudden the unsuccessful hunter lets out a screech and dashes off at top speed towards the North. The remaining one flies to a high tree and rests on the prey.
Sometimes it’s hard to know if I sighted a bird or imagined it. It’s a well known birder dilemma and has the potential of the birder questioning her/his sanity. The other day I encountered one of those moments: I thought I caught sight of a COMMON LOON, but then it was gone. And I mean gone! There was nada, nichts, rien déplus, no such bird in sight. I don’t know about other birders, but it’s hard to acknowledge bird sighting defeat. Finally I gave up, walked towards the Riverside Ave. bridge and who was swimming there in full breeding regalia? The COMMON LOON. Happy to know that I was somewhat sane after all, I walked home while my thoughts nibbled on the river wildlife treats, which fed my soul generously. And once again I witnessed wildlife right in the middle of our busy town. If that isn’t exceptional I don’t know what is…impressed jane greetings