Good Morning Barbara and Fellow Nature Lovers,
Valentine’s Day will be celebrated this week and I send you all ‘Happy Valentine’ chirps. Traditionally we express your love to your 2 legged heart’s choice on this occasion. Since I have the enduring tendency to adjust customs and traditions to my liking, I take Valentine’s Day as a red opportunity to decorate one of my passions with some kind of action. As you guessed correctly: Nature is my choice. So on the morning of the 14th I’ll decide on my caring action. I enjoy the combination of the spontaneous Valentine’s expression and the planned demonstrations for my 2 legged choices.
I want to let you know that our ongoing ‘Estuary Project’ will happen on SAT. 16th from 9 am-11 am. We welcome you to join us for restoration work on the San Lorenzo River banks. Like more info? Then click on ‘San Lorenzo River Estuary Project’.
You are not going to believe, who Gillian and I heard on Thursday at 8:30pm by the County building! A GREAT HORNED OWL, hooting in the dark. Then Gillian saw it fly to the window ledge, barely visible in the dark. By then I was hooting and hollering with delight, because for years I heard the rumor that we have OWLS along the river. The GREAT HORNED OWL flew up to the corner ledge, where its silhouette show up better and hooted for the other one to come on over. After a minute of hoot coaxing the other GREAT HORNED OWL flew in, they had a lengthy hoot discussing until one had enough of the cold concrete, flew to the top of the tree and continued hooting from its pleasing setting. Gillian commented that the OWLS were probably missing the County building trees, which I am sure they are.
On Sunday I checked on the construction progress of the Trestle path. It looks like the work is proceeding slowly. The only visible changes are the wood covered rail ties, the beginning demolition of the East path, Trestle conjuncture and the installation of a horizontal projecting beam. I am curious if only the rains and storms are to blame for the downtempo pace or if other issues are at play as well. I am eagerly awaiting the installation of the net, which will protect the river from any falling construction debris. In the meantime I am keeping my fingers crossed that none of the Eucalyptus trees will be removed!
The SANDERLINGS have become regular shore guests and the gulls have gotten used to their presence. When the little puff balls-on-busy-legs first arrived, the gulls were peeved hosts. The much bigger birds spent useless time chasing the agile little ones down the sandbank. The speedy SANDERLINGS would dodge the giants easily while still foraging. Now I see the two species calmly feed side by side. I love to figure out how and why this shift occurred. I doubt that the birds are the same individuals throughout this shift, so how and why did the gulls’ behavior change and why did the skittish SANDERLINGS remain so unperturbed?
MALLARDS are water grazer and their feeding pace is similar to the land grazers: eat here a little, check out that spot over there, clean a little, rest a lot, etc. So when I saw 4 MALLARDS zooming across the river, aiming towards a spot under the Trestle trees, they had my attention. I checked that cliff area and saw what I thought was a TOWHEE at the waterline, but when 2 more appeared, I had doubts, because more than 2 TOWHEES in close vicinity is ultra rare. Looking more carefully the mistaken birds turned into migratory BLACK TURNSTONES, who only breed in coastal sedge marshes in western Alaska. I didn’t expect that the river visitors were the MALLARDS’ destination, but they were! All 4 MALLARDS decelerated at the waterline, climbed slowly on the rocks and took turns checking out the new shoreline additions.
The BLACK TURNSTONES kept moving around, totally at ease with the MALLARDS’ inspection. The MALLARDS came to the consensus that the new ‘kids’ on the shore were okay and started a little nibbling here and there. When I walked by again, they were still enjoying each other’s company.
Happy Valentine to you all,