Greetings to all you Nature Aficionados,
This morning I was looking from the Trestle levee towards the river mouth and it struck me how differently the river shoreline looked from last year. Now there is vegetation growing in shallow water pools where once there was bare sand. The Mallards are investing a lot of time in harvesting the new development. The Snowy Egrets and Great Blue Herons stop-overs are brief, because they discover their food items are not on the pool menu. While I was watching the scene it struck me how fast life is changing for the wildlife and us humans. Will our rapid life change give us a better understanding for the speedy changes that wildlife has to adjust to thanks to our human encroachment and destruction on their habitats? Will that understanding create more inclusive wildlife consideration when development projects are designed?
Above me the TERNS were exchanging their screeches as they flew back and forth over the river, examining the water for the perfect sized fish. This hunter species has the opposite behavior to any other hunter I am familiar with: they insist on announcing their intent with high decimal fanfare to the prey. That does make you wonder if fish are deaf, doesn’t it? Some of the migratory TERNS arrived a month ago and now you can see their numbers increase while they are either resting on the river mouth shore, splashing in the low waterline or zooming through the air. They pilot their bodies with formidable, elegant skills that I never grow tired of watching.
They looked like a medium length tree stump, but they actually were juvenile MERGANSER, huddled together on the shoreline. This year I have only seen one other group of young MERGANSERS and this cluster of 5 was late for the COMMON MERGANSER breeding season. Then the question flared up: are they RED-breasted MERGANSERS, who breed later than their cousin. It was hard to talk myself out of that possibility, because they looked smaller than the COMMON MERGANSER. The markings such as sharper, straighter beaks, the obvious white wing patch, the messy feather-do all screamed for the RED-breasted MERGANSER id…the problem is that they are known to breed up north! But just then the RED-throated LOON popped to the water surface, reminding me that migrants are breaking their traditional pattern~ this LOON species is supposed to leave us for the summer and frolic around with a mate up north until nature turns them into parents. So now I have to ask the bird ID guru if I am id-loony and I’ll let you know what I find out.
The ‘wire to heaven’ was loaded with fledgling CLIFF and NORTHERN ROUGH-winged SWALLOWS. All of them hanging on to the wire for dear life, trying to counter the neighbor’s movement that set their precarious perch into motion. Interestingly enough no parents dropped by with food delivery, so these teenager are just about ready for their first long distance flight while we humans are COVID ‘grounded’.
Isn’t it amazing what that I enjoyed this lively river life during a 1 hour morning visit?
Does it wet your Nature appetite to check out the San Lorenzo River where you are always welcome?
Chirpy cheer to you all~ jane