Sunday, July 5, 2020 7:30 am 68 degrees
River is usually quiet this time of year. Resident ducks and Canada geese fly in. I saw a cormorant fly twice over the water. I always look for spider webs – so many, with lots of captured flies.
The sun glitters like stars reflecting in the water. The reflection moves with me as I walk across the bridge.
Sometimes I see turtles sitting in a log that lies alongside the bridge. Today I saw three of them. One at a time they climbed out of the water on the log to sunbathe. I point them to walkers on the bridge. A Sacramento County Sheriff officer wandered over. He thought since three of us are looking over the side of the bridge, something must have happened. I told him we are looking at the turtles underneath the bridge on the log. After being assured everything was okay, he walked away.
Once I venture on the paved bike trail or even the dirt trails alongside the river, it is so peaceful and beautiful. It is easy to forget the setting is surrounded by suburban development. This could be anywhere. The only clue is the homes sitting on the edge of or near Fair Oaks Bluff. No sound today except for the rushing water. I see some soft ripples where the depth of the water changes. Water is so shallow here, visitors walk to the center and it is only waist high. A gentle breeze blows across my face.
I stand at the boat launch ramp watching the geese clean themselves as their morning ritual. They twist their necks in all directions. I leave home and often forget to bring them food.
A family of four (two parents and two young boys) walked down the ramp. The older boy was scared of the geese. A dozen of them were scouring the boat launch ramp looking for tidbits to eat. The boy refused to walk down the ramp to pose with his brother – to avoid standing too close to the geese. I said the geese are not to be afraid of. I am here all the time. Kneel or sit down and they think you are not here. They are not afraid. Being them food and they will love you forever. Parents thanked me as they left with their family photos.
I meet a lot of people. Some watch the scene, others read. Others walk by and some cyclists ride as if they were on a marathon. Several men are standing in the river fishing. I saw one fly fishing. He cast his line way out and it landed. Then he cast his line way out again before pulling it out again.
Fair Oaks Bridge and the American River that surrounds it, means so many different things to its visitors.
Mornings on Fair Oaks Bridge – Introduction
This segment describes what you will hear in the series of 12 podcasts. Each one describes Janice’s early morning experiences and settings, beginning in September 2016 continuing through February 2018.
Sunday, September 18, 2016 635 am
When 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
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!
A great day to dip into the river upside down to search for food. Do ducks get angry when visitors do not bring them food? At sunset, what do ducks do to prepare their children for the night?
Lots of activities at the river: cyclists, walkers, new goslings, ducks fly in and search for breakfast. Canada Geese bob for breakfast.
A beautiful and quiet time of year anticipating the soon arrival of salmon. Mallards walk the boat ramp continuing to search for food. Water reflections mirror the Fair Oaks Bluff.
Discusses the curious qualities of Canada Geese and ducks as they relate to each other through their unique style of communication. And the idea that their lives are far less hurried than that of the people who watch them.
Be part of the experience when light rain falls on the American River. What is the song of the rain? What is the scent it carries? Hear ducks as they play at the river.
Wednesday September 28, 2016, 9 am
Mornings on Fair Oaks Bridge or American River Parkway create a foundation to begin my day. I arrive late today, at 9 am. The Fair Oaks Village neighborhood is fully awake. My walks usually pass through quiet streets at 630 or 7am. Now they are filled with rushing cars. A pickup truck appears from a side street and sputters off. Roosters quiet, except for an occasional call to grab attention. They have emerged from the trees and walk the park looking for breakfast. A few early morning fishermen are still in their boats.
I enjoy learning the patterns of the morning – the fishermen are always first before dawn! Ducks emerge next. The pigeons arrive flying in their circle dance, then the smaller birds greet me from the top of the bridge. Geese sleep late and most of them arrive long after the ducks have already finished their morning grooming. Egrets keep themselves hidden. It is a gift to see one or two arrive later in the morning.
Why do pigeons settle on one side of the bridge? Is it warmer there?
Cyclists arrive at 630 wearing headlamps and continue crossing the bridge all day long. Some carrying backpacks commuting to work. Some dressed in cycling attire out for pleasure or training rides. The walkers come by 7 am. Walkers with dogs are always out for early morning walks.Read more