In Search of Food

Saturday, October 1, 2016, 8:50 am, 57 degrees

As I drive through the Village, residents are walking about holding steaming cups of coffee and warm their hands. Where are the people? Morning walkers? cyclists? I walk slowly down to the bridge. A few roosters greet me. Their wake up calls are long over.

spiderweb-2w-spider, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, water, morningI arrive and do my regular check for new spider webs and spiders. Where are the spiders? So many webs cover the bridge frame and the spiders have left. I keep looking. Maybe the temperatures are too cool for them? I have walked the bridge many times in summer and seen a dozen spiders doing their daily work.

Cyclists in matching attire rumble past me. Always in a hurry, speeding by as fast as they can ride. The only words ever spoken are “on your left” or “bikes up.” The bridge always shakes when cylists pass by. Even a heavy runner causes the bridge to vibrate. Pairs of walkers engaged in deep conversation pass by not even looking to either side of the bridge.

I see a man walking two small Scotty dogs. Both dogs wear red scarves around their necks. I ask,   “Why are your dogs wearing scarves? Do scarves keep them warm?”  He says, “No. They look cute in scarves. We like them dressed this way when they go out.”

The pigeons are sitting above me dropping obvious clues where on the bridge they spend most of their time. Today they speak loudly in a language of rhythmic “coos” that only pigeons can understand.

I bring more bread today and walk to the boat launch ramp to get closer to the ducks and geese. One duck and one Canada Goose see me at first. Within seconds, ducks fly in from the shady shoreline. Those that don’t want to swim so far, fly in.

I celebrate each time ducks and geese land in the river. They land with their thin legs extended and splash into the water. As soon as their feet touch the water, they    fold their wings and sit down. Landings last only seconds. 

Still looking for my chance to catch landings on video! Difficult when the feeding frenzy begins! I toss bits of bread all around and behind me. Ducks walk up the boat ramp to get closer to the food. Geese stand beside me hoping for some favoritism by being so close. I make sure they all get an equal chance. Ducks bite and fight and swim away scolded. A common problem when three dozen ducks show up for breakfast. Someone is always getting scolded and driven away from the crowd.

A rowboat comes up the ramp and the ducks scatter with a chorus of angry “Quack, Quack” and a frantic flutter of wings, ducks move 50 yards to the east to a shady, protected spot.  Getting on with their daily routine, ducks swim away in a straight line of three. As they swim away, I hear the third one in line complain with a series of unending “quack, quack,” while the other two ignore the chatter. Geese are far too busy with their daily grooming to be concerned with what the ducks are doing.

Often when I see ducks and geese gather, the geese become the bullies, wanting all the attention and crowding out the ducks. Geese are usually the latecomers, so they often force their way into the crowd when bread is in the air as their way to make up for lost time. Bees scour the pavement while the ducks and geese eat.

An egret stands alone on the opposite shore. I have seen this egret standing at the edge of the boat ramp. As soon as I come within 20 yards, it flies to the other side of the river. I wonder if it has a nest nearby?