November 3, 2017, 750 am 57 degrees
Soft rain falls on the ground. I see a random pattern of drops on streets, sidewalks and the deck of Fair Oaks Bridge.
All fishing is over until January. No fishermen here to disturb river wildlife. Spawning salmon and other creatures of the American River are left at peace. On this very quiet morning, white clouds blanket the sky, in thick round rolls covering the pale blue early morning sky. A gentle breeze blows as I stand and watch leaves of gold, red and orange fall from nearby trees into the river and lazily float under the bridge.
Mallards gather at the boat launch ramp for a morning meeting. I hear the chortle of a Great Blue Heron from the ramp. It rises up and flies in to sit about 30 yards from me. Although I hear it clearly, the pale blue colors blend in with the landscape and the heron remains unseen. A Turkey Vulture flies over my head, scans the river and continues to fly west. Four more Mallards fly in with fluttering wings and a splash – their legs stretched out straight ready for a “ski in” landing.
Two seagulls call out to each other. I wonder what they are saying. Could it be, “Where is the food?” “Where is the flock?” “I am hungry. Get your breakfast here.” I watch each gull open its mouth wide and tilt their head back. The sound of their voices come from deep down in their throat.
I wish I could speak duck! What do they chatter about? I am sure sometimes one is telling off another, “You don’t belong here, so scram!” Or “Stop taking all the food!” Morning meeting complete, they slowly swim away. Canada Geese stand at the end of the boat ramp, whispering to themselves.