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soaking up river calmness on election day…

Good Morning Nature Seekers,

BROWN PELICANS fly by…

To-day I’ll go for an extended river walk, because I want my eyes to feed my mind beauty on this dicey election day. My ballot was cast on the day Santa Cruz had rally in of honor of Ruth Ginsburg, because I wanted to dedicate my vote to her. I am sure that all of you’ll have voted by 8pm today.

WHITE-crowned SPARROW stretching its beak jaw…

The other day I heard a bird utter a few subdued notes in intervals. It sounded like the bird was exercising its song. Finally I located the owner of the sound. It was a migratory WHITE-crowned SPARROW, sitting on the top of a Coyote bush, watching me. Once it decided that I was harmless, it opened and closed its beak repeatedly. Then a few ethereal notes were set free, followed by silence, which was used for further beak stretching. Watching this behavior, I was reminded that my friend, a professional singer, did exactly the same vocal cords exercise: stretch her jaw, sing a few tones, stretch the jaw some more. This went on for a while until the WHITE-crowned SPARROW felt ready to deliver its entire song that was delightful. Who knew that birds prime their vocal cords like professional opera singers?

setting its song free…

Sometimes the river hosts an unfamiliar guest. When that happens my mind races through various possibilities: is this an unusual migratory bird that got blown off its route, is it an inland bird that got displaced or…? After examining this DUCK, I figured that it was the frolic outcome of its domestic Duck and MALLARD parents. A COOT was quite taken by the nicely pattern newcomer. It stayed close to its side and charged at any other approaching relatives. This attitude kept the black torpedo very busy since the river features over 100 COOTS. The unusual Duck paid no attention to its ‘friend’s’ activity since algae eating dominated its time.

unusual river DUCK visitor….

Well, that was a good reminder! My friend & I took a bird watching walk along the river. I got absorbed with watching a COOT walk on top of the algae as if it was solid ground. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a smaller bird walk on the algae. I dismissed it as a BREWER’S BLACKBIRD, who frequent algae surfaces. My friend paid better attention to that bird and greatly pleased identified it as a shy, elusive SORA, who harvest floating vegetation. Obviously I was due to be reminded: never dismiss a bird with a brief glimpse, thinking that I identified it correctly. We were both elated to discover the secretive waterbird! We also saw the BUFFLEHEADS and RUDDY DUCKS, whose return I had celebrated the evening before. You can check our e-bird list to find out, who else we saw.

SORA-credit: National Audubon Society

The other morning approx. 40 CANADA GEESE rounded the river bend, slowed down, took a look at the BUFFLEHEAD flock, lined up in a formation and swam at a fast clip towards the white and black dots on the water. The BUFFLEHEADS stopped in their water tracks and watched the approach of the formidable flotilla. 2 BUFFLEHEAD males peeled away from the group and slowly swam towards the GEESE, who slowed down. Encouraged by that result the males picked up speed, causing the big group to start turning around. Obviously the brave newbies were satisfied with their success, because they watched the GEESE ensemble depart while leisurely treading water.

Sending you all river calmness on this election day~ jane

2 male BUFFLEHEADS watching CANADA GEESE depart…
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