Cheering your New Morning,
I love mornings. They open the gate to let in the day’s adventures. My morning river walks limber up my mind, soul and spirit since they are filled life’s unpredictability, which can be magical, sad, puzzling, humorous and or ??? They are perfect for getting me ready for the rest of my new day.
Have you noticed the flux of COMMON GOLDENEYES on the river? Sometimes 1 or 2 are present, then the next day there are 9 to 11, then they are totally absent to show up the following day in full force. Actually they should have left, because they are supposed to be thinking of the future generations, frolicking around up north in preparations for breeding. For us it is an uncustomary treat to see the young males cast their juvenile plumage aside and start show-casing their stunning adult attire.
There is male BUFFLEHEAD, who likes to hang out between Riverside Ave. and Laurel bridge. 2 weeks ago I saw a female with him, but now she is gone. It is odd to see him alone. BUFFLEHEADS usually hang out with their flock ..then again he seems quite contend foraging and diving at his own leisure. He should be up north as well, working on his mating skills.
I noticed a heavy decline of CLIFF SWALLOWS’ interest in nesting under the ledges of the Riverside Ave. bridge. Traditionally that has been their favorite breeding location. Robin, a river connoisseur, also noticed less CLIFF SWALLOW activity there. It appears that they they migrated to the other bridges. Now the ‘why’ questions are storming around in my head: Has the common danger of nest parasites invaded their old homesteads and doomed their usual remodeling as hazardous for their brood? Has the high, sandy sediment build up covered their mud spots, which they use for nest mortar? Did the heavy, late rains change their food source? I have noticed more NORTHERN Roughed-wing SWALLOWS at the Riverside Ave. bridge. They are crevice nesters, honing in on the light fixtures underneath the bridge. This spring I have observed a new NORTHERN Roughed-wing SWALLOWS behavior: they are chasing after their cousins in a menacing manner, at times tangle up with them in mid-air. It turns out that our path wood chips are their preferred nesting material. The NORTHERN Roughed-wing SWALLOWS clearly favor the Cedar chips and carefully select the best fibers, reminding me of people searching for the perfect piece of wood at lumber yards.
The other day there was a LESSER YELLOWLEG along the shore behind the Skate Park. This is another bird species, who should have flown north by now to work on the offspring assignment. But there it was, relaxed and feasting on river yummies.
I haven’t seen 1 little duckling fluff ball on the river. At this time of year they delight us with their adorable cuteness. I have seen 10 small feather puffs in a box though. They were rescued by the meridian maintenance crew from the busy Ocean St meridian, where they were found with no mother in sight. Alex Lopez and Dan Ayers are my heroes, because they safely gathered the tiny lost souls in a box and took them to the wonderful Native Animal Rescue, where they will be taken care of until they are big enough to be set free. I cheer these 2 men, who took the time to follow the call of kindness: looking out for the young, helpless beings.
I noticed 2 kayaks parked underneath the Trestle bridge. After ogling the RED-throated LOON’s foraging, I turned around to witness the occupied kayaks heading upstream as all the water birds started to flush. I was far away from them and couldn’t get their attention away from navigating the shallow water. Finally I couldn’t stand it anymore and yelled on top of my lungs: “NO!”, which snapped the kayaker’s head up in my direction and made the nearby couple jump. I shouted down to the trespassers that boating is prohibited on the river and that it is nesting season. They turned around and headed to the ocean after they unstuck themselves from the high sediment. I hadn’t realized that several people had gathered around me, which turned into the perfect occasion to explain why boating on the river was a bad idea. River morning greetings, jane