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

Anxious Chicks Await Breakfast

Searching for Food

After leaving Fair Oaks Bridge Wednesday morning, I stopped to watch this very determined mother hen find food. Her chicks watch with great interest. Listen closely to their high pitched “peeps.” Eventually she and her chicks moved up the hill into the shrubs, not finding anything to eat after so much effort. Fair Oaks chickens wander the village, parks, side streets and fly into trees on both sides of the river. Their morning song carries through the air beginning long before I arrive at 630 am.

 

The Next Day Mother Hen Sits

After giving away all the bread, my daughter and I leave the boat launch ramp and cross the bridge to return home. I show her the place where the mother hen was searching the day before.  We see her on the other side of the street sitting quietly in the dirt. We stand and watch several minutes wondering Why is she so still, not making a sound. Is she injured? When will she move?  Then she spreads her feathers and rises up. We see four baby chicks run out from underneath and follow their mother as she climbs up the side of the hill.

“She was keeping her babies warm! Being a good mom!”

Waiting for Salmon

Thursday, September 22, 2016, 7:15 am

By the time I arrive at Fair Oaks Bridge at 7:15 am, the sun has already risen high above the trees, glowing yellow and hot in a cloudless sky.  The bridge is already filled with sunlight.Fair Oaks Bridge, shadows, American River, American River parkway, water, sunlight

Morning walkers pass by. We exchange good mornings and smiles. Garage doors lift and shut as residents of the village drive on to the street and away to begin their workday.

A young boy alongside in a boat struggles with his fishing pole sitting in one of the boats alongside two men who are also fishing. The boy gives up, tosses the pole and begins to explore the boat, walking back and forth, checking its bottom for something interesting to examine

Five boats filled with fisherman cast their lines into the cloudy green water. The boats sit at some distance apart on the east side of the bridge. Thousands of salmon will be arriving  soon, jumping randomly out the water. They have not yet arrived from their long journey from the Pacific, through the Delta sloughs, up the Sacramento River and into the American River. Many will end their journey near the Fair Oaks Bridge.Read more

Coming of Fall

   Friday, September 23, 2016, 7 am, 53 degrees

I finally acknowledge the passing of summer’s long, warm days when the cool mornings of October arrive.  With sunlight and bike rides along the American River that last until 9 pm. Dew covers my car windshield in the morning now. The air is chilled at 645 am. My first Sunday morning on Fair Oaks Bridge, I wore shorts and a t-shirt, warmed quickly by the sun. Today, Friday I wear my denim jacket and slip on a pair of jeans. Yesterday’s morning temperature was 55. Today it is 53. As days grow shorter, and fall blends into winter, morning temperatures will drop further to 45 and then 35 and sometimes the high 20s. I will enjoy these mornings on the bridge before the chill of morning gives me a reason to stay longer at home.

rooster, Fair Oaks, Fair Oaks Village, morning, crow, walk, American RiverUsually I wake gently as I walk to the bridge, listening to the morning symphony of roosters. Today my morning explodes with deafening sound as I walk down the street as a motorcycle with his radio turned up comes up from behind. I am jarred awake. My morning “fog” instantly evaporates.

Determined fisherman sit in their boats waiting. I have no idea when they arrive. Each morning they are already here. They must come before dawn to catch the salmon as they rise for breakfast. I notice the moon in the sky. During my first Sunday, the moon was full. Today, hardly a week later, the moon is now half visible.Read more

Seeking Peaceful Comfort on Saturday Morning

  Saturday, September 24, 2016, 7 am, 55 degrees

Fair Oaks, Fair oaks Bridge American River, water, sunrise, mornings, American RiverThe eastern sky looks as if an artist brushed in pale pinks to add some contrast to the blue sky.

I return to the bridge for my seventh consecutive day. Clouds that blanketed the sky last night after dark are all gone. To the west, traffic is light on the Sunrise bridge. Whizz and roar of traffic  carries through the air.

Morning temperature of 55 degrees continues. As the sun rises, it casts a warming light on the bridge. I enjoy feeling its warmth on my face. I wear my denim jacket again today to keep the chill off my arms.Read more