Piercing look across the river…

Good Morning Barbara,

Did I tell you that few months back I got stopped in my tracks by a CANADA GOOSE gander’s piercing look across the river? Then I caught sight of the female, who had five little fluffs tucked away in the vegetation. Obviously this CANADA GOOSE couple had thrown their migratory plans to the wind and opted to raise their little ones on the river. Over the summer the levee regulars kept tabs on the CANADA GOSLINGS speedy  development, their cuteness, their health and their whereabouts. We succumbed to the universal tenderness of watching young life flourish. This amazing process includes all skins, leaves, feathers and shapes of young beings and weaves them into our hearts. Now we are rewarded by seeing our GOSLINGS swim self-sufficient on our river. Aren’t they one fine looking family?

Happy family life on the river

You can imagine my alarm on Saturday as I observed an obviously inexperienced paddler navigate the river. All her focus was on steering her board in shallow water and so she missed how she had “cornered” a juvenile MERGANSER, who scrambled to get out of her way. Did she know that some juvenile birds aren’t able to escape an approaching paddler, because they can’t fly yet? She fell off the board, clambered back on, paddled upstream precariously, leaving two City violations, a harassed juv. MERGANSER and highly agitated birds in her wake. Watching this scenario for 40 minutes with no law enforcement in sight I wondered if I was really that out of line for wanting a safe, paddle free wildlife habitat….

“Cornered” juv. MERGANSER by teetering paddler

It’s kind of hilarious how often my camera battery runs out just when I spot an unknown bird. So… a novel bird landed right next to me in a dead tree, flashing its rufous tail, wing tips whileI was facing my battery dilemma. This meant scanning the bird from head to tail instead of skipping randomly over its body as I used to do. My previous method rattled my memory bank and made the id-ing attempts miserable. After some research, it was determined that a migratory ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER had blown in. Two days later we met again and the bird thoughtfully posed itself in the same dead tree for a photo, which pictures nicely why I pleaded with Siobhan to save the dead Estuary Stretch trees: the birds use them a lot and send Siobhan a grateful “THANK YOU”!

ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER in saved dead tree

The other day I walked by the tree, where Joey recently died and was moved by the memorial people have created for him. A few months ago we saw a lot of “ I love Joey” levee graffiti and pondered, who Joey was. Now we know… I remembered your conversation with the man, who told you Joey was not liked. Isn’t life mysteriously layered?

one of many…

Since your absence several levee changes have occurred due to Joey’s death: Police/Ranger patrols increased, bigger trash bins appeared, signs along the path announce no access to banks, which makes entering the area a municipal code violation. This is great proof that the City can produce results with astonishing speed. But does it have to be triggered by death? How about taking repeated citizen reports/suggestions seriously and respond with effective levee actions, before it gets so out of hand?

New signs on levee

I have such great respect for the upstream Valley Women Club and their outstanding efforts on behalf of the San Lorenzo River environment. That is why I’ll participate on the 17th in their 30th Annual River & Road Clean up. Come and join us for a healthy river.           Have fun exploring river life, jane

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