Site icon San Lorenzo River Mysteries

…love my river surprises…

A Good  VOTING  Morning to you, Barbara

big sand piles by river mouth

On the spurt of the moment I decided to start my morning river walk with a visit to the “Point”, which overlooks the river mouth and Main Beach. I was ready to be surprised by an other new sand-scape, because lately I have seen huge sand piles appear, to be transformed into sandbanks along the shore, which became dams across the river. Usually I am the only one at the “Point”, but this morning several people were standing silently by the rail, intently looking down at the beach. Coming closer I saw the river gushing through the recently built berm, which was supposed to re-direct the river to its old riverbed. We held our breath as we watched a bulldozer and 2 men trying to stop the raging river from decimating the berm. The men and little bulldozer obviously were no match for the powerful river flow. Finally the 3 men got to a safe spot and I inventoried my “ Point” companions. Turned out it was the usual ‘crew’: all the familiar faces of neighbors, surfers, fishermen, some City/County Staff. It’s amazing how the ‘crew’ turns up at the “Point” whenever the river is facing something significant. Does the river pulse through our veins?

River breaking through berm

Heading upstream from the Trestle along the levee, I didn’t see nor hear any birds. I have come across this feather vacuum before and it always gives me an eerie feeling to be in a bird-less world. Have you experienced that? My explanation is that their highly developed senses alarmed them to potential harm. I know birds are present and once they feel safe they’ll reappear. Approaching the Riverside St. bridge it felt like I had walked through a magic portal, because here the river and land were teaming with birds. All of them having a wonderful time, enjoying the river in its full glory. Birds were flitting in and out of the bushes.


CORMORANTS, PIED-billed GREBES were having an extraordinary fishing day. They surfaced repeatedly with fish in their beaks, which called for their hilarious neck contortions to get the prey down their throats. An AMERICAN COOTS group was engaged in shredding the last remains of the algae along the tule. When some opportunistic A.COOTS barged in, they fiercely defended their algae patch while an other group took advantage of the raging battle and nibbled on the floating food undisturbed. The once lonely EARED GREBE now enjoyed the company of 14 more ”red eyes”, who all outperformed each other with their quick dives and surprise pop-ups. One of them surfaced between 3 MALLARDS and surprised the hell out them. The female MALLARD literally hopped on the water to get away from the inappropriate goose-ing. The OSPREY was checking out the fishing potential and disappeared upstream to visit you

Male BUFFLEHEAD with his harem

And then I couldn’t believe my eyes: 1 male BUFFLEHEAD was escorting 3 female BUFFLEHEADS down the river. Swimming slowly, he kept a watchful eye on all activities. Was he checking out the river “property” to make sure that the San Lorenzo River was safe for his harem? The next day the migratory quartet was gone, disappointed I turned around to walk home. I swear I hadn’t walked more than 10 steps when 2 male BUFFLEHEAD came flying upstream and landed right in front of me. And as always: I had to laugh watching them land… As you know, the BUFFLEHEADS have a special place in my bird love heart because of their comic landing style. Every year I cherish their winter return.

Newly arrived BUFFLE HEAD

My grand finale on the way home was the PEREGRINE in the tree while below a seal splashed water on the annoyed gulls.

May your walk be filled w/river surprises, jane

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