Great Blue Heron Stands Guard

Friday November 11, 2016   2pm

Riding my bike this afternoon, the grass along the American River Parkway bike trail is as green as shining emeralds. Everywhere I look, soft and fresh green grass lines the trails and blankets the open grass, American River Parkway, jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, bike trail, cyclist, bike path, trees, oak woodland

I cross Jim’s bridge, the pedestrian/bicycle bridge that leads to the bike trail and see a Great Blue Heron stationed on a rock. It is still there on my return an hour later, unmoved and silent. Salmon are silently swimming just below the surface of the water. Life is over for at least one, floating on its side downstream.

Great Blue Heron, American River, Fair Oaks
Courtesy of Gerald Ward – we both watch the heron and share our interest in observing wildlife on the American River.

The water is as still as can be without a boater in sight. As I ride the trail several miles west, I see one floating kayaker drifting downstream. The air is fresh and warm. Today is Veteran’s Day. Parents are cycling with young children. Uniformed cyclists are out in groups. Few people are walking the trails or strolling the shore. The noise and excitement of summer when hundreds of rafters floating with radios blasting down the river is long past. Land moving equipment to reshape the gravel beds of the river is also gone. Today is as quiet as it can be on this fall day.