First Rain of Fall

Wednesday, October 3, 2018      730 am 64 degrees

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Standing on Fair Oaks Bridge at sunrise. Facing east in view of the Fair Oaks Bluff on left side of photo.

            So many birds flying around Fair Oaks Bridge this morning! Far more than any other morning. Birds fly quickly from one part of the bridge truss frame to another – twittering and flapping wings. “Ti Too. Ti Too. Ti Too!” I am close enough to see the birds open their wings and see a white circle underneath each one. Dozens of pigeons fly over and leave as quickly as they come.

             Densely cloudy sky as if a heavy cotton blanket hangs on an invisible clothesline in the sky. Along the lower edge, a thick golden streak of light shines at the tree line. On the west side of the bridge, clouds reflect their deep pink and white shapes in the river below. Only two boats out today. One motored around the bend. Six ducks swim out from the riverbank. Birds continue to sound their calls reminding me of a distant siren

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Clouds reflect in the American River west of the bridge, looking toward the Sunrise Blvd. crossing a few hundred yards away.

       The air is still, and feels heavy, sticky and warm. The scent of damp ash carries through the air – the smell after a fire is put out with water.

      In the late afternoon, these clouds released our first rain of the season – a heavy and unexpected downpour.

Dabbling for Breakfast

Saturday, October 13, 2018             730 am 56 degrees

       Fourteen fishing boats line the American River near the Fair Oaks Bridge. Twelve boats extend all the way around the river bend. The other two sit on the west side of the bridge. The deep green water is so still, there is hardly a ripple. In this cloudless deep blue sky, the sun glows like a brilliant yellow ball. I smell a faint, yet pungent odor.

So many fishermen and I have not seen any salmon jumping yet. Only two more weeks before fishing is banned until the end of the year. Have the salmon arrived yet?  I see one small fish floating next to the boat launch ramp this morning.

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Mallard morning meeting

     Birds are busy greeting the morning from their station at the highest point of the bridge. “Ti Too! Ti Too!” From another direction, I hear a bird singing like a calliope in short, shrill bursts. I hear only one duck quack yet this morning. Where is everyone?

  A dozen ducks were busy with their morning rituals in the river alongside the boat ramp. One was splashing itself to take a bath, another bobbing for breakfast. The others gathered in a morning meeting to quack, confer and squabble. “Where to eat?” I imagined them asking. A single seagull landed in the water alongside the Mallard. The gull looked frustrated “So where is the food hiding this year?”

A dabbling duck works hard for its breakfast.

Sunrises on American River

Images taken standing on Fair Oaks Bridge of sunrise and sunset over Fair Oaks Bluff.

So many beautiful scenes, watching the sunrise, listening to birds sing and roosters call.  In these images, look for the duck cloud flying through the sky. Canada Geese fly over Fair Oaks Bridge. Brilliant colored streaks line the sky at sunrise and clouds above reflect in the river. Sunset over the Sunrise Blvd. river crossing looks like fire in the sky.

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Sunset in the Clouds

Thursday, January 3, 2019,  5 pm

Sunset looking from and at Fair Oaks Bridge. Spectacular view from any where you look. A display of pastels launched this evenings display of color. By this time of the evening, the wildlife had retreated for their evening. Fair Oaks Bridge and boat launch ramp were available for a private showing.

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Palette of pastels launched the sunrise spectacle
Sunset looking through Fair Oaks Bridge

Music of Early Morning at Fair Oaks Bridge

Monday, April 15, 2019   52 degrees, 630 am

                        A cool wind blows under a dense blanket of clouds. Thin strips of sunlight shine through clouds.music, early morning, sunrise, American river, water, Fair Oaks, Fair Oaks Bridge, mornings, wildlife, beauty, scenic

Birds greet the morning with songs as they sit in nearby trees and later fly as groups in geometric patterns across the American River corridor. A single unseen pigeon coos. A lone rooster crows from Bridge Street. It walks on to the bridge searching for something to eat and continues to call its good morning song.

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The rooster wanders the bridge deck and lingers on Bridge Street alone, while dozens of other chickens and roosters roam and crow in parks, streets, sidewalks and fence tops in Fair Oaks Village three blocks up the hill.

I wonder about the mother hen that used to search for breakfast and hide in bushes alongside the rooster. She was mother to five chicks, several months ago. As the chicks grew in size, I also saw fewer of them. Then there were two “adolescent” chicks with the mother hen and rooster – then one. Now the rooster is the only one prowling the street. I can only guess that predators ate them, one by one.

As I watch the glistening blue gray sky and the swirling speed of the river moving downstream, two Canada Geese raise their voices as they emerge from hiding in the riverbank and fly away. More geese are honking loudly in the distance on the western side of Fair Oaks Bridge. Few ducks have emerged yet this morning. The river feels empty. Two men stand on the riverbank to fish.

music, Canada Geese, mornings, Fair Oaks Bridge, boat launch ramp, beauty, scene, American River, honkDuring brief walks along the American River Parkway on Saturday and Sunday morning, birds crowded trees along the bicycle trail to sing good morning. Three Canada Geese arrived honking loudly, circling the bridge and the boat launch ramp and kept on honking for several minutes. I always wonder if they are arguing about where to land or where is the best place for breakfast?

Listen to geese as they circle the sky alongside Fair Oaks Bridge. Bird song recordings were too soft to be heard.

Fragrant Flowers and Bird Songs of Spring

Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, 730 am, 49 degrees,

Chickens call to each other to greet the day on my way to Fair Oaks Bridge, They call across the Village from the parks, hidden in trees, roaming parking lots and streets.

wildflowers, scent, beauty, Bridge Street, walk, breathe, Fair Oaks Village, Fair Oaks Bridge, morningI take a deep breath in as I walk and enjoy the scent of wildflowers in full bloom lining both sides of Bridge Street with blankets of small white flowers. I savor the scents and sounds of spring.

It was already daylight at my first sight of morning at 530 am. The full moon was still pasted in the western sky. Standing now on Fair Oaks Bridge, the sun sits high above the trees in a cloudless sky. Its reflection is so bright, I squint looking toward the boat ramp. The air feels much warmer than 49 degrees when the sun warms my face.

A chorus of birds twitter and chat, flying in groups of more than a dozen as they circle around and underneath the bridge. Way off in the distance on the west side, Canada Geese are shouting at each other. They may have settled on Jim’s Bridge to search for breakfast. I stand alone with the twittering birds and a single rooster calling from Bridge Street. Occasionally a walker or two pass me. The river is deep green and flowing quietly downstream, with few ripples all the way around the bend.

spider webs, Fair Oaks Bridge, mornings, observation, geometry, curious,I search for spider webs and see one at least 9” in diameter – a perfect example of geometric lines – stretched from the angular bridge truss to a side rail. A dozen small insects are caught and waiting to be eaten.  Directly beneath the web is one more that seems to have been stretched by gusts of wind. A third web hangs on the side rails a few feet from the other two. All on the east side. Rare to see spider webs on the west side.

What gives spiders the talent for spinning perfectly woven webs where all strings are the same size and held together in perfect angles?

ducks, mornings, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, water, wildlife, watefowl, boat launch ramp, outdoor, natureI walk over to the boat launch ramp with food for the ducks. They waddle up the boat ramp to investigate their breakfast treat – all the while whispering to each other, quickly nipping and swallowing anything they can find on the ramp. Canada Geese and pigeons arrive. Everyone takes their fill of food. Some ducks keep themselves busy with morning clean-up rituals, while others search the river looking for breakfast. A pair of Canada Geese arrive honking loudly as they circle over the river and take their usual places to watch the river standing on a concrete pier supporting Fair Oaks Bridge. Birds twitter. An Egret lands on a tree top across the river.

Visiting Fair Oaks Bridge continues to be a beautiful and peaceful way to celebrate the morning.