Good Morning Barbara & Nature Celebrators,
I am a firm believer that talking with people is a treasure chest that is filled with informational jewels, just waiting to be discovered. The other morning my treasure trove was dressed up as my neighbor on his levee run. We always exchange bird sightings and because he is a Marine Biologist, he always reveals some interesting inside stories. When I mentioned the strong, steady presence of the CASPIAN TERNS this year, he wondered if that was due to the Columbia River situation, which raised my river immediately. That’s because in my world view the Columbia water is a cousin to our San Lorenzo River, consequently connected. He told me that the hatchery had to supply the Columbia with salmon to counteract the river dams, which unbalanced the salmon population. The TERNS had overpopulated there, because the Army Corps of Engineers with their paper wise thoughtfulness had supplied the skilled feathered fishers with breeding ground right next to the open door to the eternal full fish larder. The situation got so bad that now attempts are underway to discourage the CASPIAN TERNS airbnd stay. The same state of affairs applies to the CORMORANTS, who also dipped into the salmon feast. My neighbor mentioned that TERN and CORMORANT sightings had increased along the coast since the displacement efforts had started. Maybe that explains those long lines of CORMORANTS close to the river mouth.
That was painful to see! As you know, I am on a mission to safe the survivors from the 2003 San Lorenzo Urban River Plan(SLURP). These native plants were part of a huge Restoration Project that cost a lot of money and took much work and time. As I told you before, I have a soft spot and admiration for the feisty plants that have persisted through repeated mowing down, vandalism and various abuses. After the last unfortunate mowing debacle, the plants had finally fought their way back and the future looked bright because I discovered open City minds for a friendly plant survivors’ approach. So I was heartbroken when I saw the Boardwalk parking path: once again the blooming Wild Roses had been shaved down to the bare ground. I know that the City levee maintenance crew didn’t do that. This left the Seaside Co. as the potential culprit, because their maintenance crew thrives on spiffing up the levee for Holidays and Memorial weekend was just 2 days away. Unfortunately their interest/knowledge in native plants and bushes is obviously pitiful low.
The bird parents are so busy feeding their fledglings that they have no time for any lengthly perching. They are climbing towards their peek parenting season and it shows: they get thinner while the brood gets fatter and grows at accelerated speed. It’s amazing to watch all the various happenings: the CROWS chasing the RED-shouldered HAWK, who is eyeing the KILLDEER nest as potential fledgling food, the TOWEES protecting their nest in the low bushes, the BLACK PHOEBE carrying bugs to the nest, the MERGANSERLINGS flitting to catch fish… There are only a few non parents, who bath in their resort mode and the RED-breasted LOON and female COMMON GOLDENEYE are 2 of them. Both are migratory birds that are spending their summer with us.
Have you had a chance to take a look at the river mouth lately? If you did, I bet you thought you had ended up in the Sarah Dunes by accident. The sand pile by the Main Beach is just mind blowing high. It will be part of the berm along the river mouth that meanders towards the Main Beach side. The berm’s purpose is to prevent the summer lagoon from flooding the Boardwalk Beach. Every year I watch with fascination if and when the river mouth gets breached. I assure you: It beats mystery movies. So be sure to come to the river, because it’s never dull down here, jane