Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 710 am, 54 degrees
By the time I park the car, daylight has filled the sky and clouds are gone – all except a few random patches and streaks. Have not seen the moon from the bridge for many days. Each morning there is so much cloud cover. There is no moon today.
It is cool and misty outside. I wear a warm, hooded sweatshirt. My car windows are fogged – as they are every morning. I wipe the windows before leaving home and turn on the defroster.
On my walk to the bridge, I am welcomed by the morning concert from roosters in their usual places – hiding in trees. For the unaware visitor, it appears that trees talk. Without shaking a leaf, the roosters perch on a branch and sing. One lonely and very scrawny chicken emerges from a side street and sings a scratchy song for anyone to hear.
Two fishing boats are in their places in the river this morning. I see the Egret standing at the end of the boat launch ramp. It arrives about the same time each morning, walks the riverbank and then flies to another place on the shore to see if searching somewhere else for its morning meal.
The bridge rails are covered with moisture. The water drips in jagged lines all the way down to the deck where I stand. In the still of the morning, The deck is striped with horizontal lines marking where drops of water have fallen from the overhead frame. Cyclists and runners pass. Always a few early birds out for their morning run. Many cyclists are commuting to work in all weather, all year long.
For several weeks, I have not seen or heard from the little bird that used to sit on the bridge frame overhead and say good morning. I am wondering if it has flown somewhere warmer or taken to trees instead of greeting me in the morning.
The geese sit alongside the bank of the river. A turkey vulture flies in. One lone rooster is still crowing. I look west and see traffic on Sunrise Blvd. bridge crossing moving slowly – as it does every morning. As I stand on the Fair Oaks Bridge I continue to watch for salmon and see only occasional splashes. They have not jumped high enough out of the water to see more than the concentric circles that remain.
I walked to the boat launch ramp to get a closer view of the wildlife. The morning is still crisp and clean. The morning holds a magical quality lost during the other times of day or evening. Morning rooster symphony has ended. The egret (shown at right) starts at the boat ramp and flies to the other side. A salmon takes several quick leaps out of the water.
A Great Blue Heron stands proudly at the boat ramp. A single goose stands nearby. Within minutes, three Canada Geese fly over the bridge honking, honking, honking. They stretch out their long thin legs and glide gracefully in the water in seconds. As soon as they land, they fold their wings and settle into the water. (See video below)
I stand a few feet from them and watch. Geese are now looking and waiting. I have no food to throw today. I watch. I listen. I believe these are the “resident” geese of the river. One of them wears a metal ring around its leg. I have seen this goose many times. The Great Blue Heron emits a loud chortle goodbye and flies to the opposite shore within a few feet of the Egret. That sudden arrival sends the Egret flying further east down the riverbank another 20 yards.