Breeding season has taken its toll on the feathered parents. Their feathers are less shiny, their bodies slim. They are ignoring the food call of their chirping, screeching almost full grown fledglings. Now the parents will fly to locations that don’t allow for their off spring to perch next to them while the young ones circle around, puzzled over this new development. The fledglings settle on a perch close to the parent, puff up and their food calls decline. Then they venture out on their own looking for food. Not all species have that upbringing pattern, i.e. the KILLDEER chick forages right after hatching.
Has anybody else noticed the lack of AMERICAN COOTS on the lower river? As of yet there was one lonely Coot searching for algae, which the red-eyed vacuum cleaners love to devour. This summer we didn’t have our annual lengthily coastal lagoon. The river mouth miraculously never stayed closed long enough to grow the natural occurring algae. Last year at this date we recorded 16 Coots and within a couple of days there were 39 COOTS and 2015 resembled 2016. Is the absent algae a foreboding omen of no COOTS this season? It makes me wonder how the lack of the annual lagoon will affect the river ecosystem. And since I brought up the rarely close river mouth, this might interest you: the river mouth had sand-barred around Sept. 16th, the lagoon formed, water level was rising, causing flooding all the way up to the Benchland and increased the water level further upstream. On the night of 22nd to 23rd the sandbar breached around 2am and the river drained down. Wasn’t the Flood Control work was scheduled to begin on the morning of the 23rd? If so a rock of relief must have fallen off the project supervisors chest.
On Thursday morning the biologists recorded the fish they had seined earlier. It’s fascinating to watch them work: they stand at a table and each person has an assigned task. Deeply focused they measure, tag, weigh the fish and then return them to the river. I’ll try to find out what the fish count was and hopefully I’ll be able to spread good news about the steelhead count. The fish are running in the river and the CORMORANTS are popping to the surface with fish in their beaks. That reminds me of the scenario I watched at the river mouth: The ocean had several patches where birds were absorbed in some serious feeding frenzy. An un-countable amount of TERNS were swirling through the air, twisting, elegantly diving with successful fish results. The gulls were crazed by their accomplishment and would chase after the TERNS ruthlessly and just wouldn’t let up. The TERNS tried to get away while gulping down the fish, which takes some prey maneuvering. A few times that didn’t work well and they dropped the fish. The gulls, with lightning speed, would race after the desired trophy. I guess that is one way to deal with bad fishing skills…
The river plum-tree is blooming and the Coyote Bushes keep on blooming, which I found out is the correct time thanks to a reader. Alan Martin’s creative river video arrived for your enjoyment and I am waiting for the first migratory waterbird to show up….jane greetings