more San Lorenzo River rarities…

Good Morning Dear Rain Receivers,

TOWHEE in freshly rain laundered feather coat…

Wasn’t that rain just perfect? Mama Nature cleaned her creations with small rain  drops, which came down slow and steady, achieving a long needed, thorough rubdown. The day after the rain the critters’ and vegetation’s colors were shining brighter, unveiling the nuanced details of their life forms. The TOWEE’s scrubbed feather coat had me mesmerized with its freshly laundered looks.

LONG-tailed DUCK in the early morning…

The last time I told you about the migratory river winter rarity, the WHITE WAGTAIL. To-day I am introducing you to an other San Lorenzo River migratory rarity: 2 LONG-tailed DUCKS. You’ll find them sleeping and diving between the river mouth and Trestle bridge. They are not explorers like their cousins, the BUFFLEHEADS and COMMON GOLDENEYES, who are checking out every nook and cranny along the river. Sight-seeing is a low priority for the LONG-tailed DUCKS, because they spend their lives 4 times more underwater than on the surface. Their underwater activity is strenuous, so the LONG-tailed DUCKS uses the water surface as their bedroom. As you know, for diving DUCKS use their feet to propel themselves forward, but the LONG-tailed DUCKS employs its wings for that purpose. This DUCK species is the only one that you’ll see out in the open sea. Usually they winter at the Bering Sea, Hudson Bay and Great Lakes. Rarely do they migrate to California. So allow yourself to take a Holiday river stroll that will greet you with the sight of 2 rare San Lorenzo River guests: The LONG-tailed DUCKS.


And then there was this rare Duck of a man, balancing on the top of the Trestle structure. It was scary to watch him walking on the beam while his friends cheered him as they ‘safely’ stood on the rail tracks that have gapping holes. There is something about the Trestle bridge that makes men perform dare devil actions like the driver, who tried to navigate his car across the bridge on the railroad tracks. He got stuck and needed to be rescued…

safe bird distance versus perfect pic. closeness…

I was watching a RED-tailed HAWK hunt along the river cliffs and land on a rock outcrop above a location that is well populated with ground squirrels. Clearly the HAWK was positing its perch, getting ready for a nourishing meal. The RED-tailed HAWK’s hope was doomed, because 2 people thought the HAWK had positioned itself for their picture taking pleasure, which required to get as close as possible to the majestic beauty for that perfect, close-up photo. One of the people just had to sneak closer and closer until the HAWK flushed and abandoned its hunting perch. I hope the person didn’t think:”WOW! it really was tame and let me get that close.”, because big birds are reluctant to spend their energy resource on taking flight unless it’s for prey. Most people don’t know that taking flight costs the bird a high ratio of its energy, which needs to be replenished with food and rest. Therefore big birds wait to the last minute to gage if they really need to escape. Unfortunately I was too far away to offer my suggestion: How about gifting the bird a safe distance to avoid the drain of its energy resource? How about gifting the bird your thoughtful, joyous appreciation by respecting its comfort level? I almost forgot to mention that a migratory SNOW GOOSE has befriended the big flock of CANADA GEESE, that frequents the river mouth shore. You can’t miss the SNOW GOOSE in the midst of the CANADA GEESE crowd, because of its all dressed up in brilliant white feathers.

migratory SNOW GOOSE with CANADA GOOSE friend…

As a Season cheer I like to leave you with a good read that explores why seeing birds make us happy. I wish you a very Happy Christmas that nourishes your soul~ jane

3 thoughts on “more San Lorenzo River rarities…

  1. thank you for your beautiful posts jane! i look forward to them. i finally wandered down to the levee, parked my car at trader joes,, and walked toward the boardwalk, but next time i’ll have to bring my binoculars. too far distance to see the birds for id’s. i’ll have to figure out where to park to walk around the river mouth and the trestle bridge next. is there anywhere around there that i can walk closer to the river? i’m a senior, and i’ve only lived here for 5 years, coming from evanston, illinois, and i’m still slowly becoming a “birder” of a very amateur level. thanks for any suggestions and i hope you have great holidays! sandie


    1. Hi Sandie, I am so glad that you enjoy reading the posts! Congratulation on embarking on a wonderful adventure: discovering birds is like opening the door to a never ending amazing world. In regard to good river viewing spots: I love watching birds from any of the river bridges. Starting the path from Laurel/Broadway bridge towards towards river mouth allows for good viewing(less bushy riverbed vegetation)- park in the Mike Fox Skate Park parking lot or on street. River mouth parking> turn right after passing Trestle bridge & park on E. Cliff, walk back to Trestle bridge, cross it to get to levee path. Let me know if these tips work for you & enjoy your new home-Santa Cruz. Best~ jane


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