Good Morning Dear Nature Friends,
The early Sunday hours saw me head to the river point to visit my favorite13″ gulls. Their ternlike bodies have been dotting the coast line, enchanting viewers with their elegant flights and gentle nature. This species belongs to the group of small hooded, migratory gulls. Stepping up to the railing I instantly spotted a good sized flock of my cherished BONAPARTE’S plus the stunning BLACK SKIMMER.
A birder was scoping for the rare LITTLE GULL, a tricky look-a-like of the BONAPARTE’S. For days its surprise arrival had been triggering lively discussions among birders if they were viewing a BONAPARTE’S or the LITTLE GULL. While the MERGANSERS, WHIMBRELS entertained me a few mighty experienced birders flocked to the point, setting the stage for some high caliber bird kibitzing. None of us suspected that our prime gull watching spot would be the victim of the evening forced river breach, requiring the rescue of a breach swept out person. Personally I enjoyed the sight of young parent birders with the little kids under their ‘wings’. Let’s face it’s heartwarming to see a future 4-5 year old Nature lover birding with his bright colored binoculars!
And staying with the happy theme: I won’t be meowing to you anymore about no ducklings on the river, because my friend Marky and I saw a MALLARD Mama parade her 13! ducklings by the Laurel St. bridge. Not only that~ there was another Mama with 2 ducklings, who kept her distance from the wide spread baker’s dozen brood. Needlessly to say Marky and I were hooting and hollering over our duckling discoveries. And of course we pointed out the the little treasures to anybody walking by innocently, resulting in some pleasant river habitat conservations. It’s encouraging to hear that few river comrades have also sighted river duckling. The presence of MALLARD families frolicking in the water is special this year, because we don’t have the usual amount of feather-balls.
This brings me to the male MALLARD, who determinately claimed his place in the orange legs tribe. From across the river you could see him swim back & forth, eyeing the line of male and female MERGANSERS covering the entire tree trunk, absorbed with their late afternoon preening. When one female jumped down the male MALLARD’s carpe diem moment had arrived. Lackadaisically he moseyed to the trunk, carefully tip ‘clawing’ onto it. Once safely placed he took his cue from the other preeners and started to shyly address his feather do. The female MERGANSER in the water came over to take a look at his grooming efforts and started a splattering bathing ecstasy. The MALLARD was keen on fluffing his feathers, which didn’t include this rinse. He attempted to hide his head, leaned away from the bathing frenzied female, inching closer to his neighbor, who opposed that intimacy. Not willing to relinquish his place among the orange legs tribe he decided to endure the splashing…
Our RED-shouldered HAWK is becoming quite the celebrity amongst us river friends: Robin named the raptor Russel and sent us a pic. Tommy and Chloe had a friendly encounter with the camera shy beauty, who flew off when Chloe tried to take pics.
Jenn has the good fortune to have front seat RED-shouldered HAWK stories, because she lives across the river. This allowed her to witness the HAWKS successful romancing that ended in their copulating all in spite of the pestering CROW. And I got trapped in the car after restoration work by the Fruit Orchard, because the RED-shouldered HAWK plunged down on a ground squirrel just a few feet away from the car. The HAWK kept hopping around and I leave it up to you figure out why. I just couldn’t bring myself to start the engine and scare the raptor off its meal, because I have watched the HAWK failing many food hunts. Within seconds a CROW arrived, ready to share the snack. The RED-shouldered HAWK kept the CROW at bay by spreading its wings protectively over its prey while hissing. Then an other food free loader arrive, in the shape of a SCRUB JAY. These 2 birds kept busy eyeing each other while I waited for the RED-shouldered HAWK to calmly fill its belly. Sending you chirpy river bird greetings~ jane