So Many Colors of Sunrise

Tuesday, March 13, 2018  7 am

Some mornings when I cannot take the time to sit and watch wildlife wake up rituals, I make a quick trip to Fair Oaks Bridge. The colors of the sunrise are so stunning. I want to capture them.

sunrise, rain, Fair Oaks Bridge, morning, beauty, spectacular, stunning, Facebook
Another beautiful sunrise at 7 am the morning after rain










Shadows in the Water

Friday, March 30, 2018, 630 am, 54 degrees

sunrise, Fair Oaks Bridge, morning, American River, shadows. frogs, Canada Geese, chickens, ducks, swim, splashI hear one chicken hidden in a tree on Bridge Street on my approach Fair Oaks Bridge. It calls out to anyone who will listen. Frogs greet the morning with their own symphony. I want to record their sounds! Two Canada geese approach quickly from the west –  appearing first as dark shadows on the river. By the time I see their bodies, they are speeding over the bridge and honking as they go.

Morning clouds spread in thin ribbons, reflecting a hot orange sunrise and overlapping gray clouds. Three ducks land with a splash in the river just behind the tree perched on the edge of the shoreline. Its root system is always exposed until the river floods. The orange glow of sunrise spreads higher and casts an iridescent glow in the water.

My day here is short. I give a final glance to the shimmering water and palette of color in the sky and walk off the bridge.

Rabbit and Chickens Play

April 11, 2018, 7 am   51 degrees

rabbit, Mornings on Fair Oaks Bridge, Fair Oaks, American River, chickens
Rabbit and chickens hide in bushes along Bridge Street. They come out searching for breakfast before vanishing again.

The chickens roamed quietly on Bridge Street as I approached Fair Oaks Bridge. I heard a chorus of birds singing in the trees to my left, as the chilly air blew against my face. The sun was just emerging over the horizon through white and gray clouds. I saw two ducks swimming from shore. A few people walking past quietly on this peaceful morning. I walked across the bridge enjoying the sunrise, while my son kept his eyes on the resident rabbit munching on its breakfast.

Another short day…enjoying a few moments outdoors.

Morning Companions

Sunday, April 15, 2018, 630 am     52 degrees

morning companions, pigeons, Fair Oaks Bridge, walk, American River, mornings, food, breakfast
Seemingly frustrated there is no food on this long bridge walk.


I hear the usual good morning calls from one lone chicken living in the bushes along Bridge Street. A dozen pigeons circle the Fair Oaks Bridge. Some land and walk the deck.

Clouds scatter across the sky as if they were blue gray spires of spun sugar with golden tips at their end. The air is still and cool. The river moves quickly downstream. As the sun emerges on the horizon, it shines brilliantly through dense cloud cover.


otter, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, mornings, swim, morning companions
River otter swims just below surface beneath Fair Oaks Bridge, dives deeper and disappears.

The branch where I watch turtles sunbathe is completely underwater. A river otter surfaced from underneath the north riverbank, swam under Fair Oaks Bridge and disappeared.

I am surrounded by the morning melodies of birds singing from high trees heard and unseen. As all other wildlife leaves Fair Oaks Bridge and the nearby areas, birds continue to sing. I stand alone on the bridge, and listen to the music of my morning companions.

Otters Play

Wednesday, May 22, 2018   730 am 55 degrees

Under dense cloudy skies and a chilling wind, a dozen small birds race in circles over and over again along the east side of Fair Oaks Bridge. One pigeon stares down at me standing on the large truss frame. Pigeons coo from under the bridge. They perch on a ledge underneath the deck for their own unobstructed view of the American River. Ducks and geese have yet to appear. One duck off in the distance greets the morning with a “Quack. Quack.” A quiet and calm morning. The emerald green water is still. A few cyclists pass by. No walkers. Wondering where the turtles go when they are not sunbathing on the branch?

cormorant, American River, Fair Oaks Bridge, water, wildlife, swim
My first sight of a Cormorant at Fair Oaks Bridge this year.
river otters, American River, Fair Oaks, Fair Oaks Bridge, water, mornings, wildlife, nature
Where are the otters hiding this morning? This photo taken in April.

First Ducklings

Wednesday, May 29, 2018   7 am, 62 degrees.

Morning clouds resemble a heavy blanket of batting spread with gentle hands stretching across the sky. Birds twitter. I see my first ducklings of the year.

first ducklings, American River, fair Oaks Bridge, mornings, water, wildlifeToday I sit and enjoy this beautiful, breezy morning, always in awe at how the colors of morning change every moment. As Canada Geese approach, I hear honking in the distance. A few walkers greet me. Cyclists shake the bridge as they speed past.

first ducklings, American River, Great Blue Heron, Fair Oaks Bridge, mornings, wildlife, water        Across the river, a man prepares to launch his canoe at the boat launch ramp. I watch a ribbon of light on the river reflecting the sun move from the center of the American River channel to the south side as the sun continues to rise higher in the sky. I enjoy scenic views farther along the American River Parkway, catching up with a Great Blue Heron and fishermen waiting for the big bite.

Spider Web Geometry

Monday, June 3, 2018   7 am

Morning begins with hearing the calls of a single chicken hidden in bushes on Bridge Street. It repeats every 2-3 minutes reminding me it is still there, calling to anyone to hear. American river is quiet except for the sound of birds greeting the new day. A fisherman floats in his boat on the sparkling water. Pigeons walk the upper frame of Fair Oaks Bridge guarding their territory. The sky is pale blue without even a wisp of clouds.

I notice a dozen intricately woven spider webs clinging to the sides of Fair Oaks Bridge. Dozens of tiny insects lay trapped inside. Their fates sealed by sticky webs. Besides a dozen pigeons arriving at the bridge, the spiders are the only creatures I see moving this morning.

spider webs, mornings, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, mornings, geometry

I continue to wonder how spiders acquire such precise weaving skills. Are they born with internal maps? Where do they begin to weave? How do they measure the length of each strand and intersecting line? Do they view their handiwork from a distance to see their progress?

spider webs, geometry, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, water, weave, nature, writing,spider webs, geometry, Fair Oaks Bridge, mornings, American River,nature, outdoor, writing, wonder



Morning Ride on the American River Parkway

Thursday July 5, 2018, 7 am, 68 degrees

Birds twitter in the cool morning air. A gentle breeze blows against my face.

Riding my bike today, I stop briefly on Fair Oaks Bridge to check for wildlife and spider webs. I continue on the American River Parkway trail, stopping at a shallow, narrow place on the American River. This short part of the river is lined with a thick blanket of gravel. The river’s resident Mallards come here to find food. Salmon arrive in the fall to spawn here.

mornings, American River, Fair Oaks Bridge, Fair oaks, water, nature, island, salmon, spawn, fall, channel
This shallow area of the river is ideal for salmon to spawn and ducks to bob and swim to find food.

Many salmon swim further upriver to another shallow place, or finish their long journey to Nimbus Fish Hatchery. I chat with several walkers who have also stopped to enjoy the view.

    A Cormorant stands on a small island in the middle of the river channel. I hear a distant quack from an unseen duck once, and then again and again, as if it is calling ‘Where is everyone?’ This rocky island is a fraction of its former size before the winter 2017 flooding. Fishermen used to dock their boats here, set up a chair with their ice chest alongside, and spend a few hours fishing.

beauty, Fair Oaks, American River, water, beauty, mornings, nature, writing Cormorant, ducks, wildlife,
Cormorant takes a rest on the island

My next stop is a picnic area on the riverbank, a short distance from the bike path. I listen to the sounds of the soft breeze and hear the water gently moving downstream. The river is moving more quickly today than recent visits. Small white peaks form on the other side of the river about 100 yards downstream. Could this be where rocks hide underneath and create rapids in the river?

I ride back to the boat launch ramp to watch Mallards searching the water for bugs or seeds or something to nibble on. I sit and watch them paddle through the water and dive head first into the water searching for food. If I had food to give them, two dozen ducks would fly in from anywhere, sensing feeding activity on the river.








One Crazy Chicken and more…

Have you ever seen a chicken that looks like this one?

mornings, chicken, Fair Oaks, Fair Oaks Village, Fair Oaks Bridge, nature, outdoor, walks

I found this one scratching at the dirt looking for breakfast during one of my morning walks to Fair Oaks Bridge.

Three days later. . .

I returned to Fair Oaks Bridge and saw a river otter enjoying a morning swim. river otter, American River, Fair Oaks, Fair Oaks Bridge, water, swim, mornings, write, nature, outdoors

Later that morning … I saw three turtles had found a fallen log at the riverbank just beneath the bridge to enjoy morning meditation in the sun.

turtles, Fair Oaks, Fair Oaks Bridge, mornings, water, American River, fallen log,

And the next day...

Mama duck and her six new ducklings out for a swim. They were surrounded by a dozen Canada Geese aggressively searching for food. She led them carefully – as they peeped and followed in a line – to a safer hiding spot in the middle of nearby reeds.

ducks, ducklings, Mallard, American River, Canada Geese, food, eat, swim, water, river, guard, babies, peep, observe, nature, writing, outdoors        

A few minutes walk from Fair Oaks Village down Bridge Street The American River and Fair Oaks Bridge crossing feature abundant opportunities to enjoy incredible scenic views and diverse wildlife. Great walks and bicycle rides for miles in either direction.







Good Morning Greetings

Monday, July 9, 2018 635 am   64 degrees

As I enter Fair Oaks Village this morning, I stop the car to wait for a chicken to cross the street and join a friend in the center median. Chickens are calling from all parts of the Village. I see them in parking lots, on streets and hiding near bushes.

Fair Oaks, chickens, Fair Oaks Village, mornings, greetings, webs, spiders
Impromptu morning meeting

A cool morning wind feels refreshing after a long and hot day. Glowing, hot yellow sun and a brilliant blue sky. No clouds anywhere.

I see a kayak launch into the water and watch the driver inside pressing foot pedals to move his craft around the river. The boat is filled with three people, a large bucket and other fishing equipment. Fishermen in their boats take positions in the American River for a morning of fishing.

Water level of the river continues to be slightly higher than a week ago. The river channel is relatively flat at Fair Oaks Bridge, so the water remains calm. A pair of ducks fly in and land with a splash out of sight under the bridge. Joggers and walkers pass – alone and in pairs. No one pauses to look over either side of Fair Oaks Bridge to enjoy the scenic views.

spider webs, mornings, Fair Oaks, webs, spider, greetings, Fair Oaks Bridge, Fair Oaks Bluffs, American River, water, spider
Why are all spider webs hanging on the east side of Fair Oaks Bridge?

A tiny bird greets me with its good morning song. “Ti Too! Ti Too!” as it stands at the top of the bridge truss looking down at me. I see no Buffleheads swimming and searching for breakfast. I can’t remember when I saw them last. When did they leave?

A dozen spider webs stretch across the bridge rails ranging in size from 9” across to a more compact 2”.

I rarely see spider webs hanging on the west side of Fair Oaks Bridge. Why do spiders spin their webs on the east side of the bridge and not the west?

Could web placement be related to the sun’s position in the sky? Is web construction related to where the shadows fall or the temperature of a specific place? Do insects prefer to fly about on the east side and not the west?

A loud fog horn blows. Long, loud and mysterious. What is that sound? Where does it come from? Few ducks are swimming. I wonder about the female Mallard who I heard quack relentlessly every visit in January and February. Where is she? Did she have ducklings? How can I even recognize her if she swims by me?