Good Morning Barbara and all you River Friends,
So…what is it with the CROW? I have no clue why it started to mob the fishing OSPREY. Last year I observed a CROW harassing an OSPREY and since then that occurrence has increased. We all know CROWS are relentless when it comes to chasing after HAWKS and FALCONS, because these 2 species will raid CROW nests. But now they are going after OSPREY? I used to see CROWS and OSPREY sitting peacefully side by side in the Trestle Eucalyptus tree. I assumed they friendly co-existed because the OSPREY eats only fish. I hope this new scenario isn’t becoming the new norm: the OSPREY is circling over the river, briefly slowing down, moving on and suddenly splashes into the water, rising with a fish in its talon. A screeching CROW dashes up out nowhere, catapults itself at the OSPREY, who is trying to avoid the ruthless attacker, attempting to hang on to the fish. The CROW, being a skilled aviator, forces the OSPREY into an erratic flight pattern that is unusual for the gliding fisher. Sooner or later the fish drops back into the water. The CROW couldn’t care less about the lost meal and won’t let up harassing the OSPREY until it heads upstream. It’s curious that no other CROWS join the OSPREY mobbing. Is it just this single CROW that has a peeve with the OSPREY or have you seen the same behavior upstream?
I am going to chime in a little on your reporting of the tangled City and Corps of Engineers river situation. Yes, the Corps is enticing the City to sign off on the 2018-19 Operation/Maintenance Plan that was negotiated last June by the Corps Staff and Jim Panetta for the tune of $ 2.5M. Previously the City has balked at accepting the river responsibility, because the 2014 Corps 100 year flood report was put into question by the the Feb. 7th 2017 storm flooding. This 2014 Corps report was used to meet the FEMA accreditation standards that keeps the flood insurance low. Without the FEMA accreditation the fees will double, not welcomed news for developers, who are keen on constructing their 7 plus story buildings close to the river.
The Corps put an end to the City’s balking by informing them that no money was available to update the 2014 report nor did they any longer certify levees. Ever engineer savvy, the Corps did suggest that the City consider the ‘bankful channel’ to fulfill the FEMA accreditation standards. And wasn’t it wonderful that the sign off allowed the City to finally access the $1.81M Congress credit for the 2000 Soquel bridge expense. That amount could be applied to the $5M ‘bankful channel’ project and hopefully make FEMA happy. The remaining $688,000 of the $2.5M will be applied to the levee repair by Bank of America.
And as this complicated process unfolds I am a small time recipient of the Corps’ maintenance requests for the 2018-19 Operation/Maintenance Plan. As you can imagine I was not happy to hear that the Estuary Reach vegetation was on their radar, which readied me to stand in front of the whole Corps and defend the meager vegetation in that Reach. Especially the dead trees on the water bank, which are the only hunting perches for the KINGFISHER, BLACK PHOEBE and the migratory flycatchers. The fledglings of the migratory SWALLOWS use them as a rest station, the SONG SPARROWS need them for their spring songs, the Calif. TOWHEEs access them for their mating chase and the migratory GOLDEN and WHITE CROWN SPARROWS gather in them for their long chats and sing-alongs. They are an important food source for the WOODPECKERS. I have advocated for these dead trees for years to the City, who kindly spared them and now I hope to high heaven that they will be saved once again. I would love to take the Corps team on a San Lorenzo River walk and show them what a vital, important role vegetation and dead trees play in the life of birds and wildlife. It just might give them new insights…
Your sharing John Muir is so enriching and in return I share “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer, an American native, scientist and single mother. Her message of giving gratitude and honor to Nature’s offerings is very inspiring and heart warming.
In that spirit: keep your fingers crossed for the dead trees, jane