Watching Wildlife Wake Up

Sunday, September 18, 2016   635 am

American River, American River Parkway, Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, Fair Oaks, Fair Oaks Bridge, water, Sacramento, Sacramento County, American River Parkway, scenic, trails, waterWhen I arrive at Fair Oaks bridge, the sun has yet to rise over distant trees on the opposite shore of the American River. I focus my attention on the river landscape and notice so many different habitats for wildlife here. The roosters are the most obvious – they are always the loudest! I have seen Great Blue Herons on the river, Egrets, Canada Geese and a wide variety of ducks. I saw an owl one time and river otters occasionally. Trees, fallen logs, shrubs, and the island farther upstream are excellent hiding places. The river itself, now more shallow than it has been in a long while, creates homes too. The bridge is also home to bats hidden underneath in specially formed concrete slots.Read more

Magic of Mornings at Fair Oaks Bridge

Fair Oaks, Fair Oaks Bridge, chickens, community, nature, ducks, Canda geese, wildlife, American River, American River Parkway, bicycle, walkers, trail, morning
I look forward to the magic moments of morning  on  Fair Oaks Bridge and  American River Parkway to discover and celebrate the gifts of the outdoor world.  I often arrive at dawn before the sun rises over the trees and  stay for an hour or more to observe, listen, write and photograph.

“I don’t know where it is possible to love the planet or not, but I do know that it is possible to love the places we can see, touch, smell and experience.” 

David Orr, Earth in Mind

The American River Parkway is “The Jewel of Sacramento.”  Fair Oaks Bluff is the “Crown Jewel.”  Fair Oaks Bridge was completed in 1909. It is a “Truss” bridge and a treasured icon for the adjacent community of Fair Oaks. The community of Fair Oaks is located about 15 miles northeast of the city of Sacramento. Fair Oaks Village is widely known for its chickens, whose wake up calls provide music each morning and continue throughout the day. Readers will find chickens featured throughout blog posts in photos and video.

The bridge connects Fair Oaks Village with the American River Parkway, a greenbelt that stretches 37 miles through suburban communities of Sacramento and into the city. The bridge sits alongside  Fair Oaks Bluff – also displayed in many photographs within blog posts. The setting is a beautiful place to see, touch, smell and experience!

Waterfowl Walk and Ski

Wednesday September 21, 2016, 7 am

Clouds cover the sky. Raindrops fall on my windshield. In the 10 minutes it takes for me to walk to the river, the sky has already brightened. The raindrops that fall on the bridge quickly evaporate. I feel a cool breeze blow against my face. This is the first moisture of late summer and in a few minutes the drizzle has passed.clouds, bridge, Fair Oaks Bridge, Fair Oaks, morning, American River

Roosters wake up the neighborhood with their calls – one crowing and another responds. Far fewer roosters are awake. Maybe the chill has kept them hiding in trees a little longer?

I know the morning sun has risen over the trees. Yet I cannot see it today hidden behind dense cloud cover.Read more

In Search of Food

Saturday, October 1, 2016, 8:50 am, 57 degrees

As I drive through the Village, residents are walking about holding steaming cups of coffee and warm their hands. Where are the people? Morning walkers? cyclists? I walk slowly down to the bridge. A few roosters greet me. Their wake up calls are long over.

spiderweb-2w-spider, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, water, morningI arrive and do my regular check for new spider webs and spiders. Where are the spiders? So many webs cover the bridge frame and the spiders have left. I keep looking. Maybe the temperatures are too cool for them? I have walked the bridge many times in summer and seen a dozen spiders doing their daily work.

Cyclists in matching attire rumble past me. Always in a hurry, speeding by as fast as they can ride. The only words ever spoken are “on your left” or “bikes up.” The bridge always shakes when cylists pass by. Even a heavy runner causes the bridge to vibrate. Pairs of walkers engaged in deep conversation pass by not even looking to either side of the bridge.Read more

Great Day for a Leisurely Swim or Dip!

  Monday, October 3, 2016, 6 pm, 70 degrees

The sky is covered with what looks like strips of pale blue and white cotton candy. At 6 pm, no sun to be found. The air feels cool and I wear my zip up hooded sweatshirt.

No birds are out. A few ducks are out for a leisurely swim. I hear splashes in the water and look to the sound and see rings of concentric circles. Must have been a salmon jumped out and dove back in quickly. Since my last visit I see that rain has fallen on the bridge. The intricate networks of spider webs and flytraps are washed clean away off the bridge upright and cross beams. Not a trace is left. The air is heavy with the scent of moist dirt, yet clean and refreshed by gentle rain.

ducks, swim, swimming, American River, Fair Oaks BridgeTwo boats and a kayak sit in the water. A few cyclists pass and some walkers out for a evening stretch before sunset. I walk to the boat launch ramp and the ducks see me coming. Today I have no bread to throw.

A dozen ducks gather and walk up the ramp and wait. They look at me impatiently as if to say, “Where is the food?”

After a few minutes when they realize no food is coming, they all retreat back into the water. In minutes some have disappeared to hiding places on either side of the ramp. The dabblers decide to find food on their own.Read more