A Cormorant Airs its Wings

Monday, July 10, 2017   8 am

A crowd of Canada Geese and Mallards are sitting at the foot of the boat launch ramp this morning, engaged in their morning rituals. Ducklings swim by. More Mallards fly in, arriving with a chorus of “quack, quack, quack.”

Cormorant, boat launch ramp, Fair Oaks, Fair Oaks Bridge, American RiverI watch carefully this morning as the ducks land in the water. They stretch out their legs at a slight angle, water ski as they touch the water for a second, then fold their legs and settle their bodies into the water. This morning I see a Cormorant with its characteristic yellow beak and huge wingspan. I have seen them now several times on my bike rides on the American River Parkway to Rossmoor Bar.

Coromorant, Fair Oaks, Fair Oaks Bridge, blat launch ramp, American River, morning, outdoors, nature, water, river
Airing wings to dry after flying

The Cormorant arrives at the boat launch ramp, ignoring all the other waterfowl. It stares out into the water, stretches its neck and spread one wing as if hanging it to dry. After a few minutes of airing its wing, I watch this new visitor to the American River walk back into the river and swim away.

Canada Geese arrive at the boat launch ramp, walking over to the ground behind the ramp, beaks down scavenging for breakfast bites. The geese always seem to be the last to come in the morning. Pigeons first, then Mallards, then the geese wake up and show themselves for breakfast.

I ride my bike to Rossmoor Bar and watch an army of ants crawl across the picnic table in view of the water. The sandbars are exposed once again and waterfowl rest on them. I sit and listen to the gentle sound of water rushing by at this place – the San Juan Rapids. I feel a cool breeze on my face. I watch the ducks swim in a small area of shallow water as geese stand guard on the sandbars.

Today, the river is relatively quiet. I rarely see rafters or kayakers. The snow in the Sierra has yet to melt and run down river. Will this area rage with floods again in the fall?