Saturday, July 22, 2017 7 am 68 degrees
I hear what sounds like a foghorn repeated three times as I sit on Fair Oaks Bridge. What is that sound? Where is it coming from?
At Jim’s Bridge a few ducks are swimming and scavenging. I pass them by and ride on to the boat launch ramp where all is quiet. One woman stands in a boat in the middle of the river channel and casts her fishing line. Birds are calling their morning song, even though I cannot see even one. I hear a chorus of tweets and rattles. Pigeons roost on Fair Oaks Bridge.
One Mallard approaches me waiting to receive handfuls of breakfast treats. As it poses for me and waits for a bite to eat, we both hear a quack in the distance. The duck raises it neck and listens for the sound. After a few minutes of waiting for me to throw food and discovering, I have none to give, the duck wanders back into the water.
Another day at the river without even a strip of white clouds in the sky. Looking carefully, I see faint wisps of white, as if an artist used a very dry brush on a pale blue canvas. I hear a chicken call from the distance. The calm waters enhance this peaceful scene. Out of the quiet, a cyclist at high speed races by, rumbling across the bridge deck as he passes.
Half dozen Canada Geese patrol a distant shore. Still no Egrets. No Great Blue Heron. I search for them every time I come and they must have gone elsewhere where food supply is plentiful. No turtles today hanging out on a branch to sunbathe.
I hear a persistent cough coming from an unseen person hiding on the riverbank directly under the bridge. I have heard these coughs several times during morning visits to the bridge and rarely see the source.
The sun is high in the sky. The morning temperature is still cool. I ride west on the American River Parkway to my usual morning stopping point – a picnic bench on a bluff overlooking sandbars on the river. No waterfowl there. No cyclists on the bike trail yet.
On my ride home I look for the tall and long dead tree where woodpecker families call home. I see a family of four flying from one branch to another, sitting, drumming, joining others, flying off again, sitting in a line. I focus in for a photo and they fly away again.