Friday, July 27, 2018 930 am, 75 degrees
More than 1,000 goats crowd a field overrun with dry weeds and grass alongside the access road to the American River Parkway near Jim’s Bridge. Sacramento County employees brought 1,000 goats in trailers. Men are busy installing the wired fence enclosure as I pass by. Goats will munch on weeds for the next 10 days. Today they look bewildered. “What are we doing here?” Most of them have not started eating yet.
When I arrive minutes later at Jim’s Bridge, nearly 100 rafters are waiting. Their rafts ready to launch for a day of fun on the river and shooting water cannons.
Six Canada Geese are gathered near the boat ramp by Fair Oaks Bridge for a morning meeting. Shortly after I arrive, they rise out of the water and fly away. I will watch to identify their movements next time I stand closer and discover how they lift themselves out of the water and take flight.
Thursday, August 23, 630 am
Chickens call across the Village block-by-block and tree to tree. This morning is a rousing symphony conducted once again by hidden leaders. Walking down Bridge Street, one chicken crowed and crowed and kept on crowing. No clouds. Bright sun.
A quiet morning. Ducks stand on the boat launch ramp engaged in morning clean up of feathers. One duck takes a bath by splashing itself with water and then shakes itself off. After cleaning up, ducks tuck their head under their wing and take a nap. I watch ducks swimming through the river creating a wake in the still water.
Not a raft or a fishing boat in the water. Twenty runners cross the bridge. I hear the chortle of a Great Blue Heron somewhere hidden near the riverbank.
Wednesday, August 29, 2018 730 pm
I took a short bike ride to the boat launch ramp just before dusk. A time to enjoy the beauty and calm of the evening; and monitor any duck activity on the river. One boat floated by the bridge waiting for a fish to bite.
One duck walked up the ramp sniffing for food. It began talking to me in duck speak. Was it was asking, “Didn’t you bring me anything?” I had already given away all my grapes the days before. This time I came empty handed. The duck did not stay long for conversation. It flew away and landed in the river. I was busy watching and did not catch a photo.
I know the strategy for touch down in the water – wings out and legs outstretched at a slight angle to hit the water as if they were skiing. Once they body hits the water, they fold their wings and settle into the water. How do they take off? Now I know.
The duck, standing two feet from me, took a huge leap into the air, started flapping its wings and airborne, turned toward the river, and landed on its “water skis.”