celebrating good outcomes…

Good Morning fellow Nature Celebrators,

OSPREY drying off after his dive…

It was so thrilling to see the long lost beauty high in the Trestle tree. For months I have been scanning their favorite perches, hoping to see that white glimmering shape contrasting with the rust colored branches. The OSPREYS had disappeared in early spring. We missed them dearly. We were deprieved of our pleasure: watching their slow flight over our river, scanning for a fish meal, the quick dives, the shaking off the water that showered the air with glistening water pearls. The feasting on their meals had a primeval flavor to it, hushing us observers. The male OSPREY looked down on the river from his high perch and I am sure he wasn’t excited about the sight: an algae covered surface, floating on murky brown-green water~ not exactly the perfect hunting conditions for the necessary dives. Finally he took a chance to score a his breakfast and circled over the San Lorenzo River. He made a speedy plunge and came up empty clawed. He kept shaking his whole body for some time, trying to shake off the algae decoration. After the second attempt he flew back to the tree where a KINGFISHER took offense to the fish competitor’s presence by filling the air with its high alarm calls. It didn’t take long before the OSPREY had enough and flew upstream. Hopefully its next visit will be more conducive to his hunting needs.

KINGFISHER enjoying a well deserved rest…

The river has been lagoon-ed most of the summer and yet the steelhead population count and the water quality have been holding up. This is good news, considering that the lagoon condition raises the water temperature, which fosters algae production and is not the ideal situation for the steelhead. The MALLARDS and COOTS couldn’t be happier since the algae is  provided them with an endless food source. It’s good to know that the City biologists are keeping a close monitoring eye on the river, which is required when the river turns into a lagoon.

Estuary stretch awaiting Flood Control work…

The Flood Control work is continuing and this week they will arrive in the Estuary stretch. So you can find me on the inboard river bank, flagging the few native plants that are present. I am just going to whine a little bit about the City never implementing the restoration work that were in the San Lorenzo Urban River Plan(SLURP). The Estuary stretch is obviously the most bare one of the 3 river reaches, because it doesn’t get the care and attention it deserves. Four years ago my big time whining came to end thanks to the help of the Valley Women’s Club: we proposed the Estuary Project to the Park & Rec. Department and with their support and help we keep going strong. That is why right now I scrambling up and down the Estuary slopes, flagging the native plants so that their seeds can spread on the banks.

saving native Buckwheat seeds…

You probably had signed the ‘Raptors are the Solution’ petitions to support the AB 1788 Bill. More then likely you heard that Governor Newsom signed the Bill into law, which puts a moratorium on second generation anticoagulant use (with a few exemptions). This gives the CA Dept. of Pesticide Regulation time to finish reevaluating these dangerous products, which kills our wildlife. ‘Raptors are the Solution’ was a driving force to make many of us aware that the rat poison kills our RED-tailed HAWKS, its cousins and the other wildlife species. A big THANK YOU to all of you, who responded to the ‘Raptors are the Solution’ action calls that benefits our San Lorenzo River critters.

ready for the future- Calif. Fuchsia seeds…

And YES! Good outcomes are possible~ cheering jane

San Lorenzo River welcomes BUFFLEHEADS & GOLDENEYES…

Good Morning Barbara and all you Nature Enjoyers,

male BUFFLEHEAD & his harem…

As you know, I my vigilant eyes have roamed the river water surface in the hope to see the appearance of migratory waterfowl, especially the adorable BUFFLEHEADS. On October 29 my wait was rewarded with the sight of 1 male BUFFLEHEAD and his harem of 4 females in tow. They had the skittish behavior of newcomers, which meant that any perceived threat sent them under the water surface. This disappearance mania eases off as they get familiar with their winter neighborhood. The goosing PIED-billed GREBE obviously didn’t approve of the new crew: it circle the small flock, dive down and stay out of sight. All of the sudden the male BUFFLEHEAD would burst into a dash away from the females, but wouldn’t dive. I couldn’t make head or tail of these perplexing speed zooms until I noticed that the PIED-billed GREBE would pop up close to the male. After 4 repeats of this scenario, the male BUFFLEHEAD cleared the water decks, because he was fed up with the sneaky gooser and his devoted harem trailed behind him upriver. Do you think the PIED-billed GREBE knew he save himself some time by chasing off the male because the 4 females would follow him?

2 female GOLDENEYES joined the BUFFLEHEAD flock…

For the last 6 years I noticed that the female GOLDENEYES don’t subscribe to the BUFFLEHEAD harem concept, because they arrive before the males, who meander in approx. a week later, decorated in their stunning plumage. I watched the 2 female GOLDENEYES checking out the growing flock of 18 BUFFLEHEADS. After swimming back and forth on the other side of the river, they decided that it was okay to join their migratory cousins. Slowly they approached. The BUFFLEHEADS were agreeable to their company and the GOLDENEYES melted smoothly into the flock.

City is opening the river mouth…

The City opened the river mouth on October 28 and drained the water below 5’5″. It used to be that the City was careful to not let the water level go below 5’5″, because that height was established as beneficial for the fish. In the past I have seen Biologists with nets, pulling out fish at the opened river mouth, but not this time.

female OSPREY on her favorite branch…

There is something gentle and reassuring to see the same river birds in their familiar places. It creates a sense of affinity with these critters as I walk the levee. There is the tiny Anna’s Hummingbird that always buzzes me as a walk by the plum tree. Sometimes it comes so close that it seems to get ready to land on me. In the beginning I was worried that I was close too its nest, but I noticed that no other people were getting buzzed like me. The TOWHEE couple by the Boardwalk parking lot forage along the path. When a person approaches, they sound alarm and both flit into their hiding spot in their favorite elderberry bush. I see them peeking down at the people, waiting for them to pass, so that they can resume their food rummaging. The royal OSPREY in the Trestle trees peers down at me as I stare mesmerized up at her. I consider my ‘feathered regulars’ a part of my extended family and I am always happy to see them.
Be sure to come to the river and welcome our migratory winter guests, jane