meet the BEST and enjoy the river vignettes…

Good Morning Greetings to all you River Friends,

Mike, David, Gillian Rebecca and Tony were last Sunday’s BEST….

My last two weeks have been taken up with hand watering our young native plants, trying to nurse them through the dry summer and initiating the Benchland Estuary Stewardship Program for the houseless campers. I can’t help but see the similarities between the two activities. Both are trying to survive harsh circumstances according to their individual abilities.  The reason for this Program is that the stretch by the San Lorenzo River waterline has has been heavily impacted by uncontrolled camping that degraded the habitat vegetation. I know first hand that houseless people make great environment stewards because I have witnessed that with ‘my’ Downtown Streets Members, who have become a part of the Estuary Project work crew. These Members are the backbone of the BEST, aka Benchland Estuary Stewardship Team. They are the ones, who show up for the work, help brainstorm ideas to promote the Program so that fellow campers become part of the BEST. I admit that I loved seeing Tony Elliot, the Park & Rec. Director, Community and houseless members work together on helping the river habitat. They created a BEST community by helping each other out with hard and at times difficult work, they shared laughter and conversations. Nature rewarded their efforts with the passing of a MALLARD Mama and her 5 ducklings and a GREEN HERON’s fly-over. You are welcome to join the BEST every Sunday from 11am-1pm. We meet at the Benchland entry by the big, black dumpster close to the Water St. bridge.

JUNCO thanks the BEST with a song in the cleared Benchland area…

As mentioned before it has been interesting to compare the settle differences in the river habitats with my river compadres. We can’t figure out if this year’s lack of river bird diversity is due to COVID- more human and dog presence- or if we are witnessing the climate change effects. Many of us are keyed into the Nature cues to prepare us for the upcoming seasons : ducklings announce spring, SWALLOW arrival announces spring transition to summer, migration birds fledglings indicate summer and so on…The comrades’ consensus is that the observed changes leave us a little disoriented. Have you noticed bird behavior changes? And if that is the case~ how do they effect you?

BLACK PHOEBE sailing on the river…

The BLACK PHOEBE discovered that the algae is very handy river float that allows catching the insects that are attracted to the flotsam. It seemed quite enamored with the river ride, because it was still sailing the river on its green ‘boat’ when I returned an hour after. Usually this restless species zips from one perch to the next. This year there have been less BLACK PHOEBES along the river. Did they fly to a different habitat? Barbara Riverwoman will be delighted to hear that a juvenile PIED-billed GREBE is moseying around by the Riverside Ave. bridge. She has a special bond with them, so I want to let her know: the mask marked teenager is chasing its parents, who escape this danger by diving every time the youngster comes too close. Clearly they see their parent role as fulfilled. And talking about young birds: the juvenile RED-shouldered HAWK keeps calling for parental branch food delivery. Either the parents are deaf, bad hunters or weaning their youngster, because some days you can hear that meal request for hours on end. One of my river comrades saw the PEREGRINE in the Trestle trees again. The Falcon always disappears for a few spring and summer months. Now we are waiting for the OSPREY’s return, who follows the PEREGRINE’s behavior pattern.

Monarch approves the Estuary efforts…

Last not least~ We like to invite you to our Estuary Project work day this Saturday, July 17th, from 9am-11am. You find more details here: https://www.scvolunteernow.org/opportunity/a0C4T0000026cG4

It would be fun to meet you at the river~ cheery chirps to you all~ jane

3 thoughts on “meet the BEST and enjoy the river vignettes…

  1. Our birds here in northern New England seem the same (I haven’t been to the seashore or bay, much — can’t speak to the fowl issues if there are any), but we’ve noticed a lack of bugs and bees of any kind and even hornets this year (because we had a too mild winter?). Anyway, I think it is climate change related, and I can’t help but wonder if a similar lack of buggy food is keeping your bird numbers down.

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    1. I think you are right about the lack of insect food source impacting the bird population, especially during breeding season. During that time the parents are eager to feed a high protein insect diet to their fledglings to further rapid growth. It is striking to notice the decline of snails- an important food source for many critters( a gardner’s bane!). I love reading your New England sightings & gain insights to your nature situation~ jane

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  2. It is gratifying to see this post after seeing all the hateful comments on the Sheriff and Police pages on Facebook. I know that things are bad, but I also know that haters only complain about the worst of it, and blame everyone involved for those who are unable to take care of their situations. If the haters put as much effort into solving some of these problems as they do into hating, it would be taken care of by now. Hate is too important to them.
    Anyway, I do not really know what is different about the behavior of the birds here because I do not know what is normal. There is always something different going on, but that is to be expected. Right now, those hawks that I am not acquainted with make that loud screeching noise from the top of the cottonwoods outside. I have no idea what it is all about because I do not watch them. I just hear it.

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