Waterfowl Walk and Ski

Wednesday September 21, 2016, 7 am

Clouds cover the sky. Raindrops fall on my windshield. In the 10 minutes it takes for me to walk to the river, the sky has already brightened. The raindrops that fall on the bridge quickly evaporate. I feel a cool breeze blow against my face. This is the first moisture of late summer and in a few minutes the drizzle has passed.clouds, bridge, Fair Oaks Bridge, Fair Oaks, morning, American River

Roosters wake up the neighborhood with their calls – one crowing and another responds. Far fewer roosters are awake. Maybe the chill has kept them hiding in trees a little longer?

I know the morning sun has risen over the trees. Yet I cannot see it today hidden behind dense cloud cover.

A Great White Heron walks gingerly along the shoreline, placing each step with care and inspecting every inch for a bit of breakfast. A flock of a dozen Canada Geese fly in over the bridge. They turn sharply to the north and fly toward Fair Oaks Village. Now two Herons are visiting the river on this morning of stillness.

Three boats carrying fisherman sit and wait for the salmon to bite. The water is too cloudy to see if any are swimming nearby. The only cyclist I see speeds by wearing a helmet light. As I stand on the bridge, a man and woman walk past by heading toward the Village carrying a large sleeping bag. Reading their expressions, they enjoyed spending an evening outdoors and were on their way home, instead of what could have been two homeless people carrying their belongings inside a sleeping bag.

The moon still visible in the western sky no longer full, is slowly fading away. A pinkish glow behind the clouds has vanished. The sun is still hidden. As clouds part, the blue sky displays a range of hues from dark bluish gray to gray to bright white. Drops fall again on the bridge, leaving a collage of dots.pigeons

A flock of about 50 pigeons dance in the air above my head. I wonder what morning symphony they are listening to. Other birds nearby tweet and respond to their friends across the water. Roosters hide in trees on        the riverbank sounding  “oooo”…”ooh”…”ooh”…”ooo.”

The air does not have the smell of rain, not even moisture, even as the drops fall. I feel the heavy heat of the day to come, even at 7:25 am.

Have yet to see any one walking on the Fair Oaks Bluff so early in the day. What a view that is! Sometime during my Fair Oaks mornings, I will climb the steep hill to look out at the panoramic view of the American River, the parkway and well beyond to the north. A view enjoyed daily by the residents whose homes sit at the edge. Far enough back to sustain the house on the hill and close enough for a spectacular view.

Aaah! With the air warming, pigeons return to their stations on the bridge. The beaver family remains elusive, apparently preferring the privacy beyond the Sunrise bridge crossing. Still too early to see salmon begin their ritual leaps.

day-at-amerriverfoWhile I sit and watch wildlife wake up on the bridge, the cyclists who pay no attention to anything so small as a spider web or a bird singing, rumble quickly by on their way across the bridge. Some are riding for pleasure. Others race by, clad in full color riding attire and carrying backpacks on their way to work or a long day on the trail.

I enjoy learning the morning wake up patterns of the wildlife living here near the Fair Oaks Bridge.

Mallards fly in for a landing. I have yet to capture this feat in a photo! I love to watch ducks and geese land in the water. Sometime I hope to see a mother duck give her children flying lessons. I watch each duck fly in, dropping down to within a foot of the water, then stretch out their legs in front of them, ski on their webbed feet as brakes until they land into the water, sit down and fold their wings.

I need to leave them for today and will return tomorrow.