Good Morning Barbara & you Nature Lovers,
The fishing season opened December 1st and the steelhead anglers are back, swinging their lines across the river between the Laurel St. and Riverside Ave. They are cheered on, advised by fellow fishers, who keep an alert eye on the steelhead movements from the banks and bridges. The casters are told where to aim their lines and when to try their fishing luck at an other spot. The fish tease the anglers’ passion by jumping out of the water at a safe distance from their bait. Steelhead river life is not easy right now: the Seals and big striped Bass are trying to devour them and anglers trying to catch them. Watching the scene brings back memories of Richard Wehner, who introduced me years ago to the deep waters of fishing fervor. He was a highly skilled, much admired fly-fisher, spending days standing in rivers, working long hours at the Hatchery, worrying over his batches of fish, celebrating good results and making sure that the fish were well treated. Talking to fisherman Larry I realize that Richard’s spirited legacy lives on: he remembered watching Richard carefully unhook small steelhead and tenderly returned them to the river. Larry and other anglers fondly remember Richard as a fisher-gentle-man with par excellent sportsman’s etiquette and few knew how generously he assisted people, groups in need, keeping them afloat and humbly concealing his kind hearted deeds. Larry’s topped off our conversation adding this bonus: a while back he had seen and netted Coho in the San Lorenzo River.
colossal gull congregation by the river mouth
Have you seen the colossal gull congregation down by the river mouth lately? Are there storms raging off shore? That would explain the hundreds of gulls by the river mouth, seeking solid land during the Ocean storms. The sand and the river are covered with an impressive variety of migrant and local gull species as you can see in my novice video. Now is the perfect time to test your gull id skills and question your sanity, because gulls are tricky to id. On fishing days the lower river is further clogged with COMMON GOLDENEYE and COOTS, who avoid the anglers.The birds are determined to claim their new water real estate space, which creates traffic jam and near collisions by the Trestle. The other day two COOTS got into a heated beak argument and chased each other through the tight feather crowd and kept careening into gulls, who tried to hop out of the way unsuccessfully. Only a few Bufflehead brave the water traffic chaos and mostly stay on the sidelines while the others hang out a little further upstream.
In the last two weeks a female and male Osprey have been taking turns sitting in the Trestle trees, the Ferris-wheel and Log-ride. The Boardwalk rides have been re-appropriated as perfect perches by the Ospreys, who have arrived at ‘live -and let live’ terms with the CROWS, who decided after weeks of hysteric screeching and bomb diving the Ospreys that they actually liked them. Now they all perch together side by side on the rides as they survey the scenery. Maybe the Osprey couple is looking for a suitable nest location by the river?
I consider myself a fairly good wildlife observer and wildlife loves to prove me wrong, which totally amuses me and reminds me how easily we overlook beauty right next to us as we focus on a far away bird or are lost in our thought universes. The other day I was watching a GREEN HERON across the river and felt ‘somebody’ eye-ing me. I looked around and saw ‘nobody’, then I looked up and right next to me there was the RED-shoulder Hawk sitting on the path sign, studying me with its intense stare. My involuntary “Hi there” was acknowledge with a slight head tuck and a feather puff up shudder. What a superb reminder that humans and wildlife are keeping an eye on each other.
I am looking forward to leading the river walk via the Sierra Club meetup on Saturday January 13th 9am-11am. Want to join us? Then click HERE to sign up. Love to see you…
Happy New Year chirps to all of you, jane