Fun at Boat Launch Ramp

Monday, February 18, 2019

The boat launch ramp nearby Fair Oaks Bridge has its own stories. Featured below are photos taken before and after the rain. Together they reveal a small part of the stories of this place.

ducks, Mallard, boat launch ramp, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, mornings
The infamous nonstop quacking duck on the right. They search for food and wait for me to throw them breakfast.

This is where visitors feed ducks and I watch them play, dunk, wash and search for bits of food. Fishermen launch their fishing boats here and others climb into their rafts for a ride on the river. I often see people come to sit on the bench, or park their car to watch and enjoy this peaceful setting. This is the ideal vantage point for all my bridge photos.

seagulls, swim, boat launch ramp, American River, Fair Oaks Bridge, mornings, stories, breakfast
A few seagulls remain to search for food through the winter at the boat launch ramp and upriver in other shallow water.

 

 

I often mention this ramp in blog posts because it is the site for so much activity watching ducks, Canada Geese and seagulls. They search for food, they argue, they shout and listen for others to join them.

 

 

Flooded boat launch photo taken from Fair Oaks Bridge in between rainstorms after large releases of water rushed down the American River. Two other photos shown were taken in early February.

Cold, Frosty Morning

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 730 am, 37 degrees

A cold and very frosty morning! Slipper ice lines the deck of the bridge. 

Fair Oaks Bridge, Fair Oaks Bluff, American River, rain, sunrise, clouds,Sunrise emerges behind clouds that envelop the sky in a huge, gray blanket. A quiet and peaceful morning. A few walkers are out and we are all bundled in jackets and gloves.

I hear birds and wildlife that remain unseen. The river seems lower than this morning – water is periodically being released from Folsom and Nimbus Dams during winter rains raising the level of the river and expanding it on the riverbanks and up the boat launch ramp. I hear the sound of the water and the wind as my face is chilled in the morning air.

Markers on the Trail

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

During walks on Fair Oaks Bridge and along the American River Parkway I enjoy taking note of how visitors mark memories of this beautiful place. I also caught a rare close up of a squirrel pausing long enough while eating to pose for this photo.

squirrel, eat, tree, hide, American River Parkway,heart, American River Parkway, American River, marker, memories, memory, heart, trail, Fair Oaks Bridge, Fair Oaks Bluffmarker, American River, rocks, American River Parkway, water, beach, Fair Oaks Bluff, Fair Oaks Bridge

heart, Fair Oaks Bridge, deck mornings, roses

Sunrise Between Rainstorms

February 2019

 In between rainstorms, sunrises continue to paint pictures awash in blue and gold as sun reflects through heavy cloud cover in the sky east of Fair Oaks Bridge.

 

Cloud Candy in the Sky

February 2019

So many cloud formations grace the sky. Photos taken over several days in mid February.

I see ribbon candy and finely woven blankets in the sky. Other cloud formations create stunning backdrops for sunrises and beautiful days to enjoy the beauty of the American River.

 

Canada Geese Argue over Territory

Saturday, March 16, 2019, 710 am, 41 degrees

Entering the bridge, I look around and wonder where are the pigeons? I cannot remember the last time a dozen of them were perched on the overhead bridge truss to rest. Today I hear one coo and see none. Pigeons have always been the first birds to arrive, dancing in the sky, circling several times over the bridge before landing.

Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, mornings, nature, birds, observation, writing, outdoorsThe tiny bird that greets me with Ti Too! sits long enough for me to hear its call and then flies away. It always sings from the highest part of the bridge frame.

Not a single spider web stretches across the bridge side rails. I wonder where have the spiders gone?

Grass still grows through the deck boards. A duck flies solo under the bridge, as two airplanes let out a jet trail of smoke behind them as if they are drawing a long, then stripe on a blue chalkboard in the sky. A few runners pass, people walking their dogs and two cyclists speed by. The morning is so quiet I  hear the sound of a vehicle driving over the gravel in the boat ramp parking lot. The air is chilly with no breeze. Occasionally I see my breath float above me into the air. The sky is pale blue without no clouds. Far different from the day before when white stripes, tinged with gold crossed the sky.

mist, sunrise, mornings, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, write, nature, observe, outdoorsSun is just emerging over the trees behind the boat ramp. As it rises, a thin and puffy blanket of orange mist appears around the bend in the river and rolls slowly along the surface of the water.

Standing at the boat launch ramp, I to see a group of eight ducks swimming toward the ramp. Suddenly most of them dive and disappear. They reappear, and as if they were on cue, rise up at precisely the same moment, flying low and swift to disappear around the river bend. One lone Canada Goose stands at the foot of the ramp, watching, waiting, or maybe wondering.

When I walk back on the bridge, I see a goose standing on the top of the truss. Rare to see waterfowl fly and rest on the top. I walk further and there is a goose resting on a pier. However, it makes a quick exit when two other loudly honking geese arrive and land on the pier and rest comfortably. Apparently, the pier is not big enough for three.

Canada Goose, mornings, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, water, outdoors, nature, observation, write, beauty, TrussCanada Geese, Fair Oaks Bridge, pier, American River, mornings, nature, outdoors, beauty,

Two geese on the pillar continue to whisper. I wonder what they could be thinking about the conflict at the riverbank from their vantage point?

Eight Canada Geese arguing over territory shatter the silent morning. On the south riverbank, geese are honking and flapping wings and chasing the intruding geese away – first off a small spot of land and then shooing them away in the river. This continues until the geese split up. Some stand on the riverbank. Others swim alone in the river.

The sun sits far above the trees now. All hint of mist on the river has vanished. More ducks have come to dunk and search for breakfast. The two Canada Geese on the pier stand quietly, engaging in morning cleaning rituals, watching, resting and enjoying a panoramic river of the American River.

First Day of Spring

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 715 am, 50 degrees

This morning – our first day of Spring – a gentle mist falls on Fair Oaks Bridge. Clouds glow bright white on the east side where pockets of sunlight shine through.

American River, Fair Oaks Bridge, mornings, water, nature, outdoors, writing, beauty, sunrise, clouds, mist

Birds twitter and rattle. I hear a sound that reminds of the whistle of a circus calliope. Air feels warm through the mist. I wonder why when I look closely at the river near the bend and it sparkles blue, yet the river near the bridge looks green.

Canada Goose, pier, Fair Oaks bridge, American River, water, mornings, wildlife, nature, outdoor, writing,Two Canada Geese honk loudly as they fly in from the west and cross the Sunrise Blvd. Bridge. These two geese are so loud, they almost drown out the roar of traffic. They fly in low over the bridge, still honking all the way as they continue past the boat launch ramp. Then both of them make a U-turn and split up – still honking.

One goose flies to the riverbank under the bridge. The other flies toward the bridge to land softly on the concrete support pier inches from where I stand on the deck. Standing quietly, the goose surveys the river from its perch and begins morning preening rituals. Minutes later, it shouts to its partner and they continue to hold a conversation from the pier to the riverbank. I am wondering did they take different positions to more effectively scout the river for breakfast?

One fisherman launches his boat and speeds up river. Runners pass me on the bridge. Groups of walkers enjoy the early morning air. The goose on the pier whispers and continues watching the river. Are they looking for the last Steelhead to swim upriver to spawn? As the steelhead run comes to a close, fishermen take their places on the American River waiting. A dozen fishermen were standing on the riverbank at dusk last night. Several others stood hip high in the river. One fish leaped out of the water. I saw no one catching any.

autumn leaves, fall, Spring, Winter, pavement, Fair Oaks Bridge, Bridge street, colorWalking off the bridge and on to Bridge Street, I notice the street covered with red-orange leaves laying flat on the pavement. I wonder where they came from? How did they stay on the trees throughout the winds and rain of fall and winter – to finally touch ground on the first day of Spring?