Good Morning Dear River Aficionados,
Well, it has become a ritual to visit with the RED-tailed HAWKS at the river mouth overlook, who never fail to show up. Sometimes one will be already perched on the cliff or the house roof. Other times a short wait is required. Jenn, a river compadre, has captured great photos of them and she noticed that one of the adults has a white spot on top of the head. Since I shared Jenn’s id tip with other river compatriots we are having fun exchanging ‘our’ HAWK’s tracking notes. If you send me your river HAWK reports/ pics I love to include them in the next blog post. I just remembered that last year our focus was the MERGANSER Mama and her 16 chicks…
Much to our relief we can report the river presence of several MALLARD Mamas with their tiny ducklings flotillas. As mentioned previously: they are showing up really late in this MALLARD breeding season. Remember the MALLARD Mama with 13 ducklings from a month ago? Now she is surrounded by 13 ‘teenagers’. Back then we thought she was a diligent parent and her intact family proves us right, because she kept her brood safe from the many perils her offspring faced. For example there are the male MALLARDS, who chase the Mamas off the water into the air. This separation exposes the unprotected and vulnerable ducklings to their many predators such as CROWS, gulls, GREAT BLUE HERONS, HAWKS and dogs. Some of the young Mamas are still learning the hard lesson of their new parental responsibility: being ‘hawk-eyed’ and diligent keeps the family members alive. So come to the river to celebrate the Mamas and their duckling delights.
It’s always helpful to compare observations with other river friends. It’s good way to check if my rumination are reality based. When Rodrigo mentioned that this year he noticed a lot of Bumblebees along the river and less native, honey bees I quit wondering if I was right about the Bumblebees increase and bee decrease. Usually these pollinators generously share their food sources in close proximity. Right now the Bumblebees have very few food neighbors. Rodrigo and I hoped that it was just a temporary shift…In the spirit of shifts, I want to tell you about this blog from India. It offers an excellent insight into how environment issues are addressed by people and their government in far away locations.
I was working at the Laurel bridge restoration site, listening to the male MOCKINGBIRD singing high up in the tree. A part of his tune was a perfect BLACK PHOEBE imitation. It made me wonder if birds ever got fooled by the MOCKINGBIRD’s tunes. Birders are warned to only id a bird sound when they hear it a fourth time, because MOCKINGBIRDS imitate other birds three times. This talented impostor announces his eagerness to settle down with a willing mate systematically: he defines his territory by perching on certain perimeter spots and letting loose his site specific sounds for about 10-15 minutes. Wisely he hasn’t included the frequent RED-shouldered HAWK call into his territory repertoire~ then again it doesn’t seem to hoodwink the females considering his mate search has been going on for over a month. There was an other bird call close by that I knew but couldn’t place right away. Looking up I saw a juv., healthy GREEN HERON balancing on the electric wires. It was a welcomed sound and sight that had been missing for the last couple of years. I send you cheery river chirps and maybe I’ll see you at this volunteer event~ jane
Valley Women’s Club: San Lorenzo River Estuary Project, June 19, 9 – 11 am
Please join us to increase the growth margins around established native plants, prune back bushes, liberate overgrown natives, plant new vegetation & mingle with other wonderful volunteers. Our ongoing successful efforts are cherished by the Birds, Bees, Butterflies, other river wildlife & our Community. The Estuary Project offers you a wonderful opportunity to feel great helping improve food & shelter resources for San Lorenzo River critters. Meet at Laurel St. Bridge at San Lorenzo Blvd. For info email Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org