Good Morning Greetings to all you Nature Marvelers,
I know that you too have witnessed Nature’s eagerness to heal herself and felt that awe of her life force strength. Currently I have a front seat to admire her healing display, because every Sunday I work with BEST, who you met in my prior post. Our month long restoration efforts are already sprouting amazing results! The big willows bushes are sending out new growth where we cleared off the invasive vines. New willow shots are exploding out of the soil where we removed invasive intruders. The native Smartweed and Heal-all plants are celebrating their newly available sun-kissed space with blossoms and vigorous growth. The Box Elder and Cottonwood tree branches now stretch upward, no longer smothered and weighed down by the heavy German vines. The best part is that I get to share these Nature discoveries with the BEST, a group of residents and houseless people, coming together to help Nature heal herself. And you may enjoy reading how and why her life force weaves through my volunteer élan…
Jenn and I were on a San Lorenzo River bird walk. We both commented on the lack of birds on the water and in the bank vegetation, which allowed our conversation to flourish, spiced with our previous bird observations and anecdotes. We meandered onto the Water St. bridge to scan the river from a higher perspective. This turned out to be a brilliant idea, because right below us a PIED-billed GREBE was extra busy diving a lot. It would come up and swim over to an area in the tule, stayed there a few moments and then return to its diving action. That behavior made me wonder if there was a nest in the reeds. We scoped that location for quite a while until we found the nest!
Jenn discovered the chicks next to the parent while I was still only spotting the parent in the nest. Finally I caught sight of 1 chick, which thrilled me to the moon and back. In the meantime Jenn was counting: ‘there are 2, no 3~ wait! there is an other one and look there is an unhatched egg in the nest!!’ By this time we were both so excited by this surprise discovery that we must have been quite a sight for the people driving by: 2 women laughing wildly, cherishing our find and then stare motionless down the bridge with our mono and binoculars. We were impressed by the parents’ foresight of arranging a private, sheltered pool for their chicks, safely closed off with some reeds. The little ones practiced there for their future life by leaving the nest, swim around timidly and face the ordeal of climbing back in.
We watched the parent feed a hatchling, who was practically crawling into the feeder’s beak. We thought that we saw 4 baby PIED-billed GREBES. But when Jenn returned the next day to take more pics she discovered there were actually 6 thanks to her great camera. She also got to watch the parent push the unhatched egg out of the nest. I mention quite often that the river loves to present unexpected surprises. Now I rest my case based on our great encounter with family PIED-billed GREBE…
Our 8/21 Estuary Project work day is a great opportunity to support Jasmine Rosales Castillo’s ‘Climate action corps fellow’ Project. In her own words she describes why this is a special occasion: “It is incredibly important for people in our community to come together to work on projects such as planting trees. This tree planting event is a perfect way to unite the community as we work together to mitigate climate change; even one tree makes a huge difference. I was always taught that one small action can make a huge difference, now imagine the impact we could do if we all worked together.” So come & support of the tree planting event of this young UCSC student on 8/21 from 9am- 12am across from Jessie St. Marsh.
The river and Nature’s life force send you invigorating cheer~ jane