Site icon San Lorenzo River Mysteries


Dear Barbara,


I had planned to write you sooner, but that intent got waylaid, because I had to regain my composure after my river walk. I can’t tell you how hard it is to witness all the incidents that go along with the opened Boardwalk : there is the young father flushing a female Merganser by throwing a log in her direction, people chasing seals off the rocks by crawling too close to them, kids throwing stones at the COMMON GOLDENEYE for fun, boys sprinting at the resting MALLARDS. And then there is the trash issue! A huge amount of orphaned litter is yearning to be housed in garbage cans, but finds itself floating homeless in the Ocean and the river. And no! I can’t explain to you, why this occurs year after year in the City that considers itself environment friendly! You know what really irks me!? There is no signage along the levee or on/by the Boardwalk, that helps people to be a good Nature guest: no bird/habitat information, no signs why the Santa Cruz community values and appreciates its environment, no revelation how we love to share it with guests and that their cooperation in our environment protection efforts is greatly valued and appreciated. Guests deserve to know about Santa Cruz Community’s heartfelt conviction: this is a very special place and entails environmental friendly behavior. As you can tell: I got darn worked up about state of the lower river…

I completely understand your comment about birding being difficult once you realize you are actually disturbing them. As you have experienced, I lace my walks with “ I am sorry!” whispers to a disturbed bird. Yep! this tendency makes me one hell of an odd-ball birder. I shyly confess this naive hope: that my bird watching creates mutual joy. That notion is nipped in the bud as the bird flies off and I face reality: Birds don’t think I am as fascinating as they are. Right now the birds face a hefty ”to do” list: singing their heart out to attract a mate, fighting off competition, searching for nest location, then nesting material, incubating eggs successfully, racing around for baby food, defending/protecting their brood and get them ready to survive a tricky bird life. So I honored their space, slinked by them and took no pics to show you of to-day’s walk.


Two RED-THROATED LOONS resting ashore reminded me of last year’s episode: On an early morning walk I encountered a RED-THROATED LOON on the levee pavement. Since they rarely leave the water due to their awkwardness on land, I looked for injuries or sick symptoms and neither were apparent. We stared at each other: both wondering about the other. I recalled the advice:” Let nature take it’s course and don’t interfere.” and walked on. After a few steps, I thought ” For heaven’s sake put that bird back in the water!”, turned around, picked it up and slid down the wet bank and placed it in the river, where it swam around and then preened itself thoroughly. Watching it later that day, I mused how calm it had been in my hands and how strong and powerful its body had felt.


On 4/12/16 a mixed group of migratory ELEGANT and CASPIAN TERNS rested at the river mouth shore. This was my first sighting of them this year. Also there are still quite a few COMMON GOLDENEYE on the river, who should have migrated by now to their Northern breeding grounds. I thought both sightings were unusual for this time of year and e-bird agreed with me: stating that my submitted observation fluctuated from their previous species departure/arrival records. Hmm?! Might there be a migratory shift in the air for the river birds?

Lower river greetings from jane

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