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San Lorenzo River Lessons…

Good Morning Barbara,

Braving the tide…

You are not going to believe this: since the last big storm I have a San Lorenzo River levee refugee in my garden. This Ground Squirrel found a safe home: the in -resident squirrels and birds share their food and tolerate the misplaced immigrant quite well in their midst.

San Lorenzo River levee refugee

The day after our Steve Pleich CTV interview, I saw the GREEN HERON tucked far inside of the tule and wished that I could communicate to this beauty how passionately we had rallied for its safe habitat.


Waiting for Leslie to talk about the Estuary project, I heard unfamiliar bird chirps in the bush next to me. It was impossible to get a good look at the bird, because it was foraging in the dense, dark branches. Then it flitted out of the bush into an other bush, that totally camouflaged the little feather ball. Giving up on locating the mystery bird, I turned to watch the young SNOWY EGRET rushing up and down the shoreline in hope of catching a fish. What made me think it was young? The legs were dull greenish & not adult black with yellow feet. Then out of the corner of my eye I caught some movement, twisting my head slowly, I spied a little yellow and black head peeking out of the bush. We checked each other out for a little while and then it dove into the bush to devour more insects. It was a TOWNSEND’S WARBLER, who migrates from Alaska to Mexico. The female has the quirky habit of partially building a nest in a tree, then taking all the material to an other tree and completing her nest there. We gardeners love seeing the little pest controllers in our vegetation.

Bathing OSPREY

Coming down the Trestle path I saw the OSPREY standing in the river across from the Crescent bridge. His neck stretched out, he was looking intently at something upstream. Scoping the river, I couldn’t detect what had caught his attention. Then he relaxed and took a rigorous bath, which entailed lots of wing splashing and head dunking. Satisfied with the bath outcome, he gazed calmly across the shore, then something snapped his attention back upstream. Coming around the bend by the Riverside St. bridge, I saw the reason for the OSPREY’s upstream gazing: an angler was standing in the river, occupying the OSPREY favorite bathing spot. Do you think the human fish catcher was aware his avian counterpart a quarter of a mile downstream? Isn’t it interesting how feathered & skinned beings view fishing so differently? One catches fish for amusement, the other for survival…

Angler in OSPREY’s favorite bathing spot

Just a brief update on the Boardwalk parking lot soil piles: recently new piles have been added and so far no news about what the piles are contaminated with. How come nobody knows? I am still on the knotty mission of finding out what is what.


Isn’t it interesting that the Sentinel addressed the IMP shortly after I inundated you with the IMP information?

where did all the BUFFLEHEADS go?

It’s a little unsettling to see so few BUFFLEHEADS on the river right now. Just in mid- December you could watch 30 of them on the river. Since the beginning of this year their presence has dwindle down. This morning I counted only 6.  Did the storms chase them away? Since the storms the river mouth on the Boardwalk side has extended beaches now, which make the river narrower. The birds consequently have less water body to keep a safe distance to humans and off-leash dogs. The birds cling to the cliff side, watching attentively the beach side. The birds relax when beach activity is calm and slow. A calm person, void of quick body movement, is deemed safe and the birds return to their foraging. The fast, sporadic actions along the beaches send the birds into flight. A nice bird reminder for us humans: slow and easy allows flow of life.

so much beach by river mouth after storms…

Sunny day greetings, jane

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