Good Morning Barbara and all you Nature Enjoyers,
I was taking photos of the Trestle path when my neighbor and river point compadre, Pat Farley, walked up with his dog in a wagon. Mickey is getting old and walking is becoming an ordeal for the big Belgium shepherd dog. That day was their second outing with the new set-up, which is proving to be very satisfactory for both. Pat and Mickey have a harmonized relationship, where they just sync up with each other as they move through life. We talked about the path progress, which is coming along rapidly now that the weather improved. Pat and I used to feel sorry for the workers, who were getting hammered by the rain, cold and wind. Mickey gave the restless sign, so they moved and I took photos of the tree that the Public Work Department saved thanks to adjusting the path design. It’s wonderful that the big tree was allowed to stay so that it can shade the water, the path and be a home, food source for birds, bees and butterflies.
Finally the cute, tiny feather balls arrived on the water. In the last week I saw 2 MALLARD Mamas showing off their newly hatched joy bundles. One batch of ducklings had a Dad in tow, which in recent years has become a rare sight. This year the air isn’t filled with female quakes as the male MALLARDS pursue them in the sky. I am happy to report that the Mamas are not being harassed by the males. Honestly that is a refreshing relief, because in the last 2 years the aggressive male behavior had escalated and was hard to watch.
There is still a big flock of CLIFF SWALLOWS busily building nests under the Crescent bridge, which is across from Jessie St. Marsh. As I mentioned that is a new location for them. I think the reason for their presence at that bridge is the abundance of mud: highly treasured by the CLIFF SWALLOWS, because it’s a necessity for their nest building. Hanging over the railing, I entertained myself watching them dig their beaks into the mud, resurfacing with a bill load, flying off and returning for more. They do that approx. 500 times to complete a comfy nest.
Across the river a juvenile Gull was looking around for something to do. It stood by the waterline, contemplating mischief, pondering how to achieve that task and then went into action after surveying the scene in both directions. The Gull focused on the near-by sleeping MALLARDS, slowly walked close to them, stopped, stretched its neck and pecked one sleeper’s back, who exploded to his feet, looking with surprise at the Gull. The other MALLARD got up slowly up to find out if it should be worried about the Gull’s next move. The Gull clearly wanted a more dramatic MALLARD reaction and started chasing its first victim up the bank.
The other MALLARD was no fool, used its own common sense and cleared off the shore. After that accomplishment the Gull looked around, saw an other MALLARD group, walked over and chased them off the sandbar. The next group saw the approaching Gull and delivered a dramatic burst into the air, avoiding the chasing fiend. Satisfied the mischievous chaser preened its feathers. When that was done, it took a leisurely walk up and down the empty shoreline. It was unexpected to watch the Gull’s behavior, because Gulls and MALLARDS usually coexist very nicely together. Then again~ maybe feathered teenagers are not that different from human teenagers, whose middle name is mischief…Well, the big equipment arrived again at the river mouth. Huge amounts of sand were shoved to shape a berm along the Boardwalk and the Main Beach. This berm will prevent the river from getting any wrong meander ideas, i.e. wandering into the Boardwalk Beach area. It will be interesting to see if the Boardwalk will clean the tourist litter that is left behind on the other side of the new berm, which the kids welcome as their new fun slide.
If you are able to join us for the next Estuary Project day on Saturday, May 18th from 9am-11am you’ll experience the wonderful side-effect of restoration work: Feeling happy that you are helping to improve the San Lorenzo River wildlife habitat.
River morning greetings to you from jane