Good Morning Barbara and Nature Cherishers,
Last week 3 AMERICAN COOTS and a female BUFFLEHEAD were determined to confuse me with their behavior. Three COOTS were escorting a female BUFFLEHEAD as they all 4 water pecked, a typical mating behavior for the BUFFLEHEAD and COMMON GOLDENEYE. The female was quite flattered by their attention. She swam closer to one COOT, who was encouraged to show his pleasure with an out off control water pecking action. She watched and suddenly moved away from the water splashing fiend. I wondered if she woke up from her Shakespearian love dream when a dignified male BUFFLEHEAD approached the lusty gathering, placed himself between the disappointed suitor and female. He wasted no time to court her, but she wasn’t impressed with him, instead she headed for her impossible dream: the sidelined COOT. The male BUFFLEHEAD stopped in his water tracks and 2 female BUFFLEHEADS arrived. They flanked the feathered wayward Mademoiselle and guided her back to the safe flock fold. What really throws me is that since then I have seen the COOTS show the same behavior with other female COMMON GOLDENEYE and BUFFLEHEAD. Have any of you river observers seen the same pattern?
This sign at the San Lorenzo River point pretty much sums up my sentiment about Nature. The river definitely has a ‘hold on me’ ! It weaves itself through my everyday life: driving along the river my head whips in its direction, attempting to catch a fleeting glimpse of its activity. I tick off drivers as I miss the traffic light change, because I am watching the HAWK soar across the river levee. Nature infiltrates my conversations, flustering people as I pepper our talk with a quick:” there is a HAWK calling”, “look there is a native grass”, “that bird over there migrates soon”. That same Nature, River sentiment threaded itself in bright colors through your report about protecting breeding/nesting birds. Congratulations for turning that situation around for the benefit of future feathered parents.
It’s always exciting to hear what others experience along the river. Robin’s feather e-mail reports fascinate me, because we walk the same levee stretch at different times of the day. He sees birds that are gone by the time I arrive and vice versa. And here is his ‘I wish I had seen that too’ sighting: Hi Jane, After I read that you saw a bald eagle on the San Lorenzo I went down to look. There it was, HUGE, sitting on a rock in the middle of the river, on the ocean side of the trestle bridge. Not very regal looking, actually looked like it had been sprayed with a hose, kind of waterlogged and dismal. I haven’t seen it since. However . . I did see a Pacific Loon yesterday. Not a red-throated. That’s a new find for me. Robin
Recently the river shore has been hosting an incredible amount of SNOWY EGRETS, proving that the San Lorenzo River estuary is an important breeding habitat for these stalkers. Did you know that in 1886 their long breeding head feathers were priced twice as high gold?
One day 30 SNOWY EGRETS picturesque decorated the waterline between the Trestle and Riverside Ave. bridge. The mating fever caused many feather raising squabbles, accompanied with short airborne attacks at the competitors, who either saw the attacker’s point of view and retreated or countered loudly with raised headgear feathers. Their mating debate was favorably sustained by many little fish that were pecked out of the water at high speed.
So I invite you to visit the river and experience its rich bird splendor… maybe you catch sight of the new migratory arrival: the CASPIAN TERNS, jane