The River Sends You Its Good Morning Greetings,
Actually I was heading to a different river site when the corner of my eye caught sight of that mighty big shape on on the tree trunk in the middle of the river. Not only caused that for my car to slow down – apologies to the driver behind me – but a pronto decision to pull over across from Jessie St. Marsh and figure out who owned that shape. Walking up the path I prepared myself to either discovering an odd piece of debris or look at an empty tree trunk. The first is based on living with my quirky imagination that entertains me with turning branches into critters, etc. The second one is the birders’ reality: birds see no reason to satisfy human viewing hunger with waiting patiently for their arrival. So my birding heart giggled seeing the sizable, dark silhouette be a bird that was still hunkered down on the stranded tree. And that is where my luck wore thin ~ the large bird had its back to me, was gazing across the river with the sun shinning straight into my eyes. I appreciated that it sat immobile while I improved my viewing angle. When I was able to take a better look, I noticed that it was gradually tipping backwards to dip its tail in the water and then tip forward, gently shake the tail, sit for a moment and repeat its interesting ‘grooming’ act. Finally it turned its head sideways, allowing the view of the stunning eyes and the fierce beak, triggering the immediate thought: ” WOW ~ that’s one fine EAGLE!”
I spend 10 minutes starring at its back since it refused to turn around or look sideways again. It was surprising to see the huge body suddenly be in the air without the usual raptor lift off maneuver. It gained height with a few powerful wing flaps, aimed to the Boardwalk, changed direction towards me, circled twice above me before heading inland. Watching it disappear I was happy that Nature had beckoned me to take the time to observe her young BALD EAGLE.
Now that my bird focus was gone, I looked around, taking in what the low tide exposed after the rains and storms: extensive sandbars and expended shorelines. The water was very shallow, which might be due to the sediment deposits that raised the riverbed. Because of these conditions it seemed possible to walk across the river. In the urban corridor section the banks let go of a few big trees that are now lying in the river. During my river escapade the AMERICAN COOTS kept me company and upstream from the Riverside bridge 3 male and 1 female BUFFLEHEADS were snoozing the afternoon away. 2 female COMMON GOLDENEYES took lazy swim. There were very few birds on the water, which might be due to the BALD EAGLE visit.
The BEST is still busy doing an amazing job in taking care of the Benchland riparian corridor: planting natives vegetation and re-purposing the broken willow branches as new starts for future growth. It’s is very remarkable to see the BEST show up for the Sundays. They work hard and focused in spite of the camp upheaval such as relocations, wet belongings and unsure future. I love how they kindly raise my awareness of being houseless by letting me know what I can do better to be more sensitive to their circumstances. Their honesty means a lot to me.
Have you been pondering what to do in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s memory this week-end? Then allow me to invite you to join the Saturday Estuary Project volunteer day: join residents and DST members and enhance together river habitats. Click here for details.
Can’t make that one? No problem, because there is the BEST Sunday option: meet us @ 11am at the Benchland shipping containers underneath the pedestrian bridge.
River Beckoning Cheer ~ jane