Waterfowl and Birds Soar Over the River

 October 25, 2016 – part two, 11 am, 68 degrees

Drizzle rain stops and starts again. Still very few people outside at 11 am. A warm rain. River is very quiet with cloudy skies and no rain. Ducks search the river for food, wings flap. Faint quacks. Canada geese change position and fly away. A cloudy sky and all is quiet. Boaters sit calmly in the water. The gentle, nourishing rain is a refreshing and welcome change.

Earlier boaters in their rain jackets have sped away heading east toward the weir positioned at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery where the salmon converge to spawn – either in the river or inside the hatchery. Birds patrol the sky. Turkey vultures wait patiently, ready to pounce on whatever has died. I find salmon heads cast off into the rocks. Soon these remains will be consumed by hungry turkey vultures, seagull or other wildlife that find them first.

ducks, American River, raindropsCanada Geese, pigeons, boat launch ramp, American River, Fair Oaks, mornings

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Wild and Busy Morning

Saturday, July 22, 2017   7 am  68 degrees

 I hear what sounds like a foghorn repeated three times as I sit on Fair Oaks Bridge. What is that sound? Where is it coming from?

At Jim’s Bridge a few ducks are swimming and scavenging. I pass them by and ride on to the boat launch ramp where all is quiet.  One woman stands in a boat in the middle of the river channel and casts her fishing line. Birds are calling their morning song, even though I cannot see even one. I hear a chorus of tweets and rattles.  Pigeons roost on Fair Oaks Bridge.

Mallard, American River, Fair Oaks Bridge, river, morning, water, feeding, feedOne Mallard approaches me waiting to receive handfuls of breakfast treats.  As it poses for me and waits for a bite to eat, we  both hear a quack in the distance. The duck raises it neck and listens for the sound. After a few minutes of waiting for me to throw food and discovering, I have none to give, the duck wanders back into the water.

Another day at the river without even a strip of white clouds in the sky. Looking carefully, I see faint wisps of white, as if an artist used a very dry brush on a pale blue canvas. I hear a chicken call from the distance. The calm waters enhance this peaceful scene.  Out of the quiet, a cyclist at high speed races by, rumbling across the bridge deck as he passes.

Half dozen Canada Geese patrol a distant shore. Still no Egrets. No Great Blue Heron. I search for them every time I come and they must have gone elsewhere where food supply is plentiful. No turtles today hanging out on a branch to sunbathe.

I hear a persistent cough coming from an unseen person hiding on the riverbank directly under the bridge. I have heard these coughs several times during morning visits to the bridge and rarely see the source.

woodpecker,American river,The sun is high in the sky. The morning temperature is still cool. I ride west on the American River Parkway to  my usual morning stopping point – a picnic bench on a bluff overlooking sandbars on the river.  No waterfowl there. No cyclists on the bike trail yet.

woodpeckers, American River Parkway, home, treeOn my ride home I look for the tall and long dead tree where woodpecker families call home. I see a family of four  flying from one branch to another, sitting, drumming, joining others, flying off again, sitting in a line. I focus in for a photo and they fly away again.

 

 

Lazy Day at the River

Thursday, June 28, 2018,   830 am   68 degrees

Fair Oaks, slow, ducks, morning, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, water, sparkle, rest
Two ducks rest on the boat launch ramp.

A lazy river moves gently down stream today.

Light breeze, warm sun. I watch a line of Canada Geese swim slowly and quietly across the American River. Leaves fallen from trees on the riverbank float in the water. Other leaves flutter through the air and land softly on the deck of Fair Oaks Bridge.

A man in a kayak floats under the bridge from the west. A boat launches from the ramp on the east side of the bridge. Not a cloud anywhere.

This morning I joined the Walking Sticks for a short walk to the bridge. They crossed Fair Oaks Bridge and kept on walking. I stopped to enjoy the peaceful moments of this beautiful morning on the river. The water glistens with silver tips. I watch the sparkling patterns on the water change as it moves under the bridge. I hear birds twitter in the trees nearby. Then the hoot of an owl…or is it a Morning Dove greeting the new day?

I am surprised to see even the cyclists are moving slowly.

Swimming in the Mist

Friday December 7, 2018 710 am, 38 degrees

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.

misty morning, mist, mornings, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, wildlife, nature, writing, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, outdoor, peaceful, quiet,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.

seagull, boat launch ramp, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, mornings, nature, outdoors, water, misty morrningsOne 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. 

Buffleheads, American River, Fair Oaks Bridge, water, mist, swim, nature, 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.