Good Morning Barbara and Wildlife Lovers,
Last Wednesday a bird chirp symphony was in full swing in the Eucalyptus trees by the Trestle path. The various bird species were ecstatic, because the sun had opened up the insect food larder again. The rainy days had left birds fairly empty beaked. Flying insects with their fragile wings don’t take to the rainy sky. The crawling insects avoid rain exposure and seek safe shelter. It would have been helpful to id the different birds by sound, because the birds moved so quickly through the foliage in pursuit of food that visual id-ing was difficult. Watching & listening to them, I observed that certain notes communicated that delicious munchies were available and invitation was extended to family members to come over for a taste. I took it as a good sign that the river trees provided such a diverse insect banquet since the insect population has dramatically declined over the last 27 yrs.(Germany 75%, North America approx. 46%).
My levee compadres, Ann, Bob & their friend walked up and we got to watch the PEREGRINE perch high in the trees as the Osprey on the log ride kept an eye on it. Next we heard an urgent bird call and couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. The Osprey vocalized in return and I thought the female Osprey was luring him to the trees where she has been present on and off for the last month. Then we saw a medium sized bird circling the trees at rapid speed as its call increased to high annoyance level. It turned out that the PEREGRINE was determined to flush out a HAWK, who got the PEREGRINE’s point, flew off while the FALCON followed it, emphasizing its ‘furthermore…’ nagging of the HAWK’S inappropriate tree presence. Isn’t it interesting that the male PEREGRINE is 30% smaller than the female? This works out great for feeding the eyasses(HAWK & FALCON offspring), because the male is more agile and quick thus is able to catch small prey for the small beaks. Later both parents hunt to accommodate the eyasses rapid weight and size expansion: within the first 6 days the little ones double their size and after 3 weeks they increased their birth size 10 fold.
A fellow birder reported that the Wood Rats and different mice species are in their second year of irruption in California, Oregon, Montana, Utah. This might explain why there has been an increase of HAWK and OWL sightings in the river vicinity. Several levee compadres mentioned hearing OWL calls at night in Jessie St. Marsh and Ocean View Park. Be sure to check out SCRATS about the rodent poison harm.Thanks to my friend Robert I met the member of the Downtown Street Team(DST), who told me that there is a BURROWING OWL by the Water St. bridge. How exciting is that? The DST members are homeless people, who clean up litter and get helpful assistance to re-integrate themselves in a more stable life via navigating writing resumes, job interviews, getting ID cards and much more. In getting to know them, I am truly touched by their bird questions, their openness to learn about the river environment and their willingness to apply their new environment knowledge.
Yes, you are right the PIED-billed GREBE likes hanging out with the other diving species, whose food preference complements the PIED-billed GREBE’s palate for aquatic invertebrates and fish. Have you noticed that PIED-billed GREBES join the other divers where the water level is high and stay by themselves in shallow water? Your little friends seems to have figured out that the COMMON GOLDENEYE and MERGANSER stir up the food source since they dive deeper, longer and make feeding more effective for the PIED-billed GREBE.
Yes, the last 3 blog years have been a rich experience. I am grateful to you, our blog reader, for enjoying what we share about our river. I shower my big THANK YOU to the feisty SAN LORENZO RIVER, the source for our blog. The river’s endless wildlife stories, unique beauty, fight for survival created our blog and will keep us busy blogging for you, jane
P.S. We welcome you to fling some pruners before the Women’s March…