First Rain of Fall

Wednesday, October 3, 2018      730 am 64 degrees

clouds, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, mornings, rain, outdoors, nature, beauty, peace, Fair Oaks Bluff
Standing on Fair Oaks Bridge at sunrise. Facing east in view of the Fair Oaks Bluff on left side of photo.

            So many birds flying around Fair Oaks Bridge this morning! Far more than any other morning. Birds fly quickly from one part of the bridge truss frame to another – twittering and flapping wings. “Ti Too. Ti Too. Ti Too!” I am close enough to see the birds open their wings and see a white circle underneath each one. Dozens of pigeons fly over and leave as quickly as they come.

             Densely cloudy sky as if a heavy cotton blanket hangs on an invisible clothesline in the sky. Along the lower edge, a thick golden streak of light shines at the tree line. On the west side of the bridge, clouds reflect their deep pink and white shapes in the river below. Only two boats out today. One motored around the bend. Six ducks swim out from the riverbank. Birds continue to sound their calls reminding me of a distant siren

Fair Oaks Bridge, sunrise, mornings, American River, beauty, peace, clouds, rain, first rain, fall
Clouds reflect in the American River west of the bridge, looking toward the Sunrise Blvd. crossing a few hundred yards away.

       The air is still, and feels heavy, sticky and warm. The scent of damp ash carries through the air – the smell after a fire is put out with water.

      In the late afternoon, these clouds released our first rain of the season – a heavy and unexpected downpour.

Dabbling for Breakfast

Saturday, October 13, 2018             730 am 56 degrees

       Fourteen fishing boats line the American River near the Fair Oaks Bridge. Twelve boats extend all the way around the river bend. The other two sit on the west side of the bridge. The deep green water is so still, there is hardly a ripple. In this cloudless deep blue sky, the sun glows like a brilliant yellow ball. I smell a faint, yet pungent odor.

So many fishermen and I have not seen any salmon jumping yet. Only two more weeks before fishing is banned until the end of the year. Have the salmon arrived yet?  I see one small fish floating next to the boat launch ramp this morning.

Mallard, duck, fishermen, American River, Fair Oaks Bridge, Fair Oaks Bluff, sunrise, water, nature, outdoor, photography
Mallard morning meeting

     Birds are busy greeting the morning from their station at the highest point of the bridge. “Ti Too! Ti Too!” From another direction, I hear a bird singing like a calliope in short, shrill bursts. I hear only one duck quack yet this morning. Where is everyone?

  A dozen ducks were busy with their morning rituals in the river alongside the boat ramp. One was splashing itself to take a bath, another bobbing for breakfast. The others gathered in a morning meeting to quack, confer and squabble. “Where to eat?” I imagined them asking. A single seagull landed in the water alongside the Mallard. The gull looked frustrated “So where is the food hiding this year?”

A dabbling duck works hard for its breakfast.

Wildlife Look for Salmon

Thursday, October 25, 2018            720 am 48 degrees

mornings, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, American River Parkway, mornings, water, wildlife, nature, writing,On my way to Fair Oaks Bridge I see deep pinks reflected in clouds. By the time I reach the bridge deck, the pinks have faded away into a soft golden glow at the horizon. Bright white, wispy clouds are my first sights of the morning. Clouds reflect in the still water. I wear my hooded fleece jacket for the first time since the first months of the year.

Five boats line the river channel on the east side. Occasionally, I hear a splash, see concentric circles in the water and guess that salmon are jumping. Three ducks swim down the center of the river corridor.

One duck quacks relentlessly. I wonder if she is giving directions? Is she the one that quacked and quacked without taking a breath last January and February? She quacks and quacks without stopping. As I write she is still chattering without end.

I see concentric circles in the water where salmon are jumping. Every few minutes, another one leaps. Once the duck stops quacking, the birds started to sing. Today I see my first glimpse of mist rolling on the water around the bend. As I write, a Great Blue Heron flies in and lands on a rock on the east riverbank. Minutes after the Great Blue Heron appears, an Egret flies in, landing on the west side of the bridge. 

Canada Geese, American River, Fair Oaks, mornings,
Canada Geese prints in dirt alongside the boat launch ramp.
Heart shaped in roses on the deck. Wondering what this meant to the one who created it?
Spider waits for prey to wander in