Chickens are quiet in Fair Oaks parks. None of them are out searching for food on Bridge Street. Birds whistle and chirp, hidden in trees near Fair Oaks Bridge. Ice clings loosely to the car windshield. I wear my hooded jacket, leggings and gloves.
Heavy mist hangs in the air as if suspended by invisible wires. The blanket of mist begins behind a curve in the river corridor at far right of photo. Ducks create their own wake as they swim in the still water. I hear the call of a seagull in the distance. So few of them are watching and waiting near the boat launch ramp. I have seen far less salmon this year than last year or the year before.
I watch the mist cloud roll slowly forward along the surface as waves gently cover the shoreline at a beach.
Thin strips of golden clouds line the sky just above the emerging yellow sun. Bridge deck is dry even though the air is filled with moisture. Strips of water crossing the deck marking the site of upright posts is the only clue of moisture in the air. A dozen cyclists pass by. No walkers. I walk to the boat launch ramp to enjoy a closer view of the ducks and random seagulls flying in.
One seagull stands alone on a rock next to the ramp. It calls out and I imagine it saying, Where is everyone? Where is the food? Two seagulls circle overhead and vanish.
I see a Bufflehead swimming in the center of the river. Then three appear, swimming together in the swirling mist. Another bird calls. Scattered clouds in the eastern sky form the shape of a cyclone in the sky on this peaceful morning.
As I walk down Bridge Street I see a chicken and rooster pair searching for food. I see no growing chicks with them. First there were five little peeps. Later only two followed behind. Weeks later, I saw only one small hen scratching the ground with them. Today the pair is alone. I wonder if their chicks died at the paws of a predator, from dehydration or not enough to eat?
Pale orange stripes of clouds cross the sky at sunrise. Higher cloud cover blankets the sky in small round puffs revealing patches of blue sky through the openings. Are they dots and dashes of code or cotton batting stretched out? White clouds reflect in the river below. Mist rolls along the surface of the river and around the bend.
I disturbed a Great Blue Heron standing on the water’s edge of boat launch ramp because I stood too close. It scolded me with a chortle while flying to the opposite riverbank.
A single gull circles over the river in front of me several times and then flies east around the bend. Four ducks fly in from their hiding places and ski into the water. Everyone is looking for breakfast. Today I see three dead and decaying salmon lying at the end of the ramp. This is the first week I have smelled the scent of decaying salmon in the air. I expected this fishy smell to saturate the air weeks ago. On my walk back to Fair Oaks Bridge, I hear the distant call of a rooster roaming on Bridge Street.
Images taken standing on Fair Oaks Bridge of sunrise and sunset over Fair Oaks Bluff.
So many beautiful scenes, watching the sunrise, listening to birds sing and roosters call. In these images, look for the duck cloud flying through the sky. Canada Geese fly over Fair Oaks Bridge. Brilliant colored streaks line the sky at sunrise and clouds above reflect in the river. Sunset over the Sunrise Blvd. river crossing looks like fire in the sky.
Why does grass grows on Fair Oaks Bridge? Every winter I see new blades of grass emerge on both sides.Our weekend heavy rain wiped away all traces of spider webs on side rails. Hardly a thread can be seen anywhere. A dozen turkey vultures circle overhead looking for dead and decayed salmon floating in the American River. Ducks swim peacefully near the riverbank. Water is green and still.
All morning activity takes place at the boat launch ramp where three dead salmon lay at the end on the right side.
Canada Geese swim in, ducks swim in and pigeons fly in close behind me. What a loud noise their wings create when pigeons rise up and fly away! Sounds like heavy wind blowing on loose ends of plastic tarps. Ducks waddle up the boat launch ramp looking at me and waiting for food. Link to the postDucks Waddle to watch them retreat calmly back into the water.
Seagulls circle overhead and land. One seagull claims its territory and chases away intruders. It perches upon a rock and calls out. I always wonder what the gulls say when they call out. Now it appears their call is claiming the space as theirs.
Link to the post, Guarding my Claim to watch this seagull chase away competitors for his meal.
Today I brought sliced grapes to share with the geese and ducks. Ducks have always gobbled them up. I throw out handfuls and no one approaches. The Canada Geese sniff and ignore them. The seagulls are eager to try them and eat a few. Most are left lying on the ramp for another time when the waterfowl decide it is time for a snack.
First the seagull stood on the rock and called to all other seagulls this was his claim. In this video, the seagull chases away its competitors for the dead salmon lying at the end of the boat launch ramp. A few minutes later, the ducks came waddling in looking for breakfast. They ignored the grapes I threw on the ramp. Seagulls enjoyed them as snacks instead.
I stood on the boat launch ramp watching the seagull conflicts. Next, the duck family noticed me standing on the ramp and came close to investigate. Food coming? I had already thrown all the grapes and ignored them. The ducks waited to see if food would magically appear. Seeing none, they quietly retreated and waddled back to the water.
Salmon completed their fall run this month. Most finished their journey home before Christmas.
This group of salmon swim through the narrow, shallow river channel. I watched them swim in the morning and sunset. Their journey continues. Some stop here to spawn, while others keep swimming. The weir (fence) at the Nimbus Dam blocks further passage up the American River. Salmon find their way to and up the fish ladder at Nimbus Fish Hatchery about 2 miles upriver from Fair Oaks Bridge.
Sitting in the rocky area near the small island in the center of the river, these seagulls patrol the water instead of standing at the shoreline wondering where is the food.