Good Morning Barbara and Nature Lovers,
I arrived early for our river walk rendezvous so that I could spread some wood chips around the newly planted native vegetation before my German friend arrived. The chip circles suppress weeds and also give the maintenance crew ‘native plant’ head’s up as they weed whack. Of course I got sidetracked watching the SWALLOWS acrobat-ing, careening above me. Then I had to stand stock-still to find out if the 2 BUSHTITS were building a nest in the bush next to me, because they kept flying in and out of that shrub. We are in the February 1st through August 15th nesting season I am on constant look out for nests since I don’t want to alarm the young parents with my presence close to their nests. It’s a waste on their energy resources to focus on ‘is she or isn’t she a threat?’. Clearly they have to attend to more important season tasks. So when my friend got there I had not completed my task, which we did finish together thanks to his kind help. As you can imagine, I basked in telling him in German about my endless river observations. During our walk we bonded with the river as we celebrated one observation after the other. Without a question the OSPREY was the highlight that made us giddy with its beauty. It was on the tippy tip of the Redwood tree that grows at the foot of the bank next to the elevated path. This combo allowed us to watch the OSPREY fairly close up, whose priority was pulling one wing feather at a time through its beak. When we left after a long time the OSPREY still wasn’t done with its feather beak combing task, necessary to achieve its superb flight. Saying our good-bye my friend and I agreed that the river had gifted us with many wonderful sights and that we were glad we took the time for this walk.
This situation was hell for birds: A young man was sitting peacefully on the river bank and sharing his breakfast with the MALLARDS, who were overjoyed by this unexpected food supply. They stood around him, waiting patiently for an other morsel coming in their way. The RED-throated LOON swam close to the shore, clearly interested in the MALLARD scene. An other young man showed up with his dog. He unleashed the look-alike wolf, who couldn’t believe its luck: MALLARDS nearby on the shore. The dog took off lightning fast, aiming for the breakfast eaters, who couldn’t believe their eyes while they were gauging if this was really true: a dog on the loose, racing straight at them. They decided that a peaceful meal had turned into hell and exploded into the air to land on the water.
The breakfast benefactor yelled at the dog owner, whose dog was chasing the MALLARDS in the water. The RED-throated LOON dove down and re-surfaced at a safe distance. It became obvious that the dog was on fire with hunting fever, ignoring the helpless master’s calls, chasing after every bird in sight until land and water were feather empty. It took a while for the owner to get hold of his dog and as they left the previously peaceful man tasked the other man to become a responsible dog owner with some peppery comments.
Driving downtown, I did my usual river scan and saw a group of CANADA GEESE on the sandbank. Needlessly to say: I had to pull over to check them out. There were 10 of them, feeding in the low water, preening themselves and a few were starring off into space. It seemed that the river was a stop-over on their way up north. Watching them I heard the welcome sound of the KILLDEER above my head. That call got a response from the shore. Moments later both of them were walking close to each other on the shore. I was so happy to see them, hoping they decide to nest again by the Riverside Ave. bridge. Never before have I seen so many RED-throated LOONS in the river, also there are still some BUFFLEHEADS and COMMON GOLDENEYES present. Did they decide to spend the summer on the river? Sending you river joy greetings, jane