get ready…

Good Morning to you all, who enjoy the wonder of Nature,

SNOWY EGRET having breakfast

I was standing stock-still on the bank in the early morning, because a fly was busy entertaining me with cleaning its 2 front limbs. This required rigorously scrubbing them back and forth, short pause, tongue action on each limb, then rubbing them again thoroughly. The SWALLOWS kept zooming really close to me and I knew I was serving as their welcomed breakfast warmer, because my body heat and breath was supplying the close by insects with the warmth they need for flying. SWALLOWS only eat insects, consuming an amazing amount of them, so I served as their food provider. In the cool evenings bats harvest insects that surround people, because the human body heat keeps the insects flying. People freaked out when the bats dive at them, thinking they are being attacked, not realizing that actually they are being saved from insect attacks.

it’s not cool to breach the river mouth…

Going to the river is a surrender to surprises. Not only was I surprised, but stunned by the man, who brazenly was breaching the river mouth that morning. He was trench digging while his dog raced excitedly around him. The river water was slowly slithering towards its mighty friend, the ocean. Unfortunately I was standing on the top of the river point and my only option was to yell down to him to close up the channel. He looked up, waved, kept digging. I screamed some more and he gestured he couldn’t hear me-yeah, right! I knew, he could! Since I don’t own a cellphone, I raced home and made my tattle calls. When I went back an other man was filling in the trench and a Police Officer arrived to help him. Of course the digger and his dog were gone. I have an aversion to breaches, because the river water literally gets sucked out and the fish suffer from that sudden water level drop.

man & Police Officer closing up the river mouth…

I was checking on the newly housed native plants when I heard CANADA GEESE honks in the air. Looking up, I saw 10 heading towards me at the Riverside Ave. bridge. They landed across the river, organized themselves into a single file, facing upriver, obviously watching something I couldn’t see. Then I heard a CANADA GOOSE honk upriver. The flotilla started a long, eager honk conversation with the other invisible honker. Finally I saw a group of 9 CANADA GEESE swim around the river bend, heading towards their waiting friends. This caused a loud salutation exchange and the arrivers accelerated their speed. I realized that the younger geese were being escorted downstream from the San Lorenzo Park, because they couldn’t fly yet. Both groups mingled together, then assembled into an orderly V formation, younger ones tucked in the middle, and swam to a spot, where they all could line up and mow the grass.

CANADA GEESE forming greeting line…

It’s always excruciating hard for me to look at the Front St. proposed development along the river and hear that this immense 75’-85’ high project is looming over our City future. It’s triggers severe wiggles of all my river protective antennas, because the buildings will change the river visuals. The fauna and flora habitats will be impacted by the building mass. Extensive time, money and planning went into the project and I bemoan that environmental protection planning ranked low in that process. Russell Brutsche’s new, great-as-always painting gives you a vivid taste of our future. Be sure to check out his art work that will make you smile and cry.

Russell Brutsche: art of a “developed” car-centric downtown

Lately the RED-shoulder HAWK call has become a familiar river back drop. Usually I hear this vociferation in the late winter, early spring, when HAWKS stake out their breeding territory and advertise for a mate. So I couldn’t figure out why that call was echoing now across the river. It wasn’t our river RED-shoulder HAWK, because our beauty would be people watching at the river as the sound would reach us from a safe distance. One day the call visited my neighborhood, a few streets away from the river. Then last week I was standing with a birding friend outside my house, when we heard that call. Both of our heads turned to the sky, scanning for the RED-shoulder HAWK. My friend calmly announced: “ Oh..there it is!” “Where?” “Right behind your house on the pole”. And sure enough there was a juvenile RED-shoulder HAWK, looking straight at us. The mystery of the unabating calling was solved: it’s the young raptor begging for food. In my excitement of finding out that we have this teenager by the river, I squeezed my friend’s arm, apologizing instantly. We both stared at it until it got tired of that and flew off. I love to know if our river RED-shoulder HAWK is the parent.
Sending you all sunny river greetings and inviting you to join us this Sat.,the 20th from 9am-11am for the Estuary Project. Click here for more details:

juvenile RED-Shouldered HAWK-image from All About Birds

12 thoughts on “get ready…

  1. Hello Jane. Thank you for your interesting post. Fascinating stuff about the swallows, bats and insects. I wonder how many people realize how family oriented the Canada geese are? I have used the Santa Cruz city’s Front Street comment page to ask how much money the council members are being paid by the developers. I encourage everyone to do the same. Hopefully an enterprising reporter can get to the bottom of the situation. I don’t think I can join you on Saturday but thank you for caring about my favorite river and the wildlife. Kim

    On Tue, Jul 16, 2019 at 11:27 AM San Lorenzo River Mysteries wrote:

    > jane mio posted: “Good Morning to you all, who enjoy the wonder of Nature, > I was standing stock-still on the bank in the early morning, because a fly > was busy entertaining me with cleaning its 2 front limbs. This required > rigorously scrubbing them back and forth, sh” >

    1. Hi Kim, thanks so much for your input! Yes, the Geese are so community focused & protective of their young. The Front St project is an un-nerving project & will change our Santa Cruz drastically~ just not sure if people realize to what extend it will…& I am looking forward to see you when it works out for you- in the meantime I send you flowing river greetings, jane

    1. Thanks, Jd! BTW: I think that juvenile Red-shoulder Hawk was hanging out close to you. Have you seen a big nest in the Redwood trees next to you?
      Best, jane

  2. Thank you Jane. I love seeing the river through your eyes. I’m not sure that the proposed building downtown will negatively affect the river… not that I’m in favor of it because I think it is a dumb thing to do in light of climate change, but birds do tend to find ways to use our human structures sometimes like the cliff swallows who enjoy our bridges immensely and the seagulls that nest on top of apartment buildings. I can see that more people may bring more impact… would love to talk with you about it sometime and hear what you are imagining would make river life less appealing for our feathered and other friends. Thanks for your deep care. Love Batya

    1. Hi Batya, thanks for your curiosity about my negative take on the proposed downtown Front St. project. From my observation critters are hard @ work to survive as their habitats are rapidly diminishing & they will try to ‘make do’ w/what is available such as human made structures. Gulls, Raptors, Falcons nest on buildings, because their natural nesting settings are disappearing. I do believe that they would choose high trees, undisturbed cliffs, etc.if given an option. So I am misty to know that the levee trees & bushes will be removed thus providing less levee wildlife habitat. & yes, I be happy to go on a river walk & talk more about that topic. Until then, jane

    1. Many surfers want to surf that swell in front of the river mouth & so they breach it. Others want to prevent the flooding in the lower river neighborhoods, because the ground water is really high there. The Lagoon raises that ground water level & so they breach the river.

      1. Well, I can sort of understand the second reason. I would not want my basement to flood. Surfers? Well, that is a different issue.

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