Good Morning Barbara,
It looks like the seasonal river lagoon might be in our near future, because the 2 sandbars are extending towards each other, eager to close the river mouth. When you come down here, you’ll be amazed to see how far the Boardwalk Beach has extended into the ocean. The Boardwalk management must be giddy with joy for the additional tourist accommodation. The only thing I can say is: they better hire a bigger litter crew!
The riverbed has drastically changed over the winter. As you know a vast amount of top soil washed down from the mountains and in spite of the rapid, strong river flow, the river bed has a noticeable new sediment build up. During low tide you can see the new ‘beaches’ in front of the Tule and the river channel is narrower. As you can imagine, I worry for the Tule nesters, because the new shore makes their nests vulnerable to loose running dogs, CROWS and RAVENS.
Reading about your fruitful upstream explorations really shows how important vegetation is for wildlife, bird population. Your 2 river stretches feature richer wildlife habitat, because of the bushes and low growth vegetation, which reptiles and birds favor. The Estuary stretch on the other hand offers less wildlife habitat due to its meager flora. Your NORTHERN ROUGH-winged SWALLOWS observation perked my interest, because it’s really surprising to see so many NORTHERN ROUGH-winged SWALLOWS by the Riverside Ave. bridge. Usually their migratory return lands them upstream from Laurel bridge. Maybe the construction for the new bridge across Branciforte Creek has caused them to seek refuge downstream? The arriving CLIFF SWALLOWS don’t seem to be too excited about their presence and are chasing after their NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED relatives, who tend to nest in shallow bank crevices.
The new bridge also created this story: It was determined that a Redwood tree was in the path of construction. Before its dismissal it was examined for potential active nests and it turned out that a Hummingbird had chosen the tree for its nursery. This was during the time of heavy rains and storms. Everybody, who knew about the successful nest, celebrated the amazing, daunting achievement of Mama ‘Hummer” and the tree was grateful for its extra granted time due to the nesting activity. Unfortunately there was no happy Hollywood ending for these main characters: a predator raided the nest and the tree was cut down….As the Biologist commented mournfully” Tough to be a small bird in this big world.”
On Saturday, braving the rain heroically, we worked on the“ESTUARY RE-VEGETATION RESTORATION PROJECT”. We heard the KILLDEER alarm call in the Fruit Orchard and stopped our work, trying to locate the caller. We spotted the alert little bird standing by a tree, watching us carefully. I had to smile, because here were 2 species starring at each other: one species intend setting boundaries, the other species eager to honor the declared boundaries. The KILLDEER decided that we had been well trained and pursued its life. A few days back, while watering our little plants, I happened to look across the street at the Motel rooftop and caught sight of the KILLDEER couple eagerly celebrating spring.
Enjoying river life greetings, jane