A Postcard Morning

Thursday, December 13, 2018 710 am 41 degrees

As I walk down Bridge Street I see a chicken and rooster pair searching for food. I see no growing chicks with them. First there were five little peeps. Later only two followed behind. Weeks later, I saw only one small hen scratching the ground with them. Today the pair is alone. I wonder if their chicks died at the paws of a predator, from dehydration or not enough to eat?

Fair Oaks Bluff, mornings, Fair oaks Bridge, American River, water, wildlife,

Pale orange stripes of clouds cross the sky at sunrise. Higher cloud cover blankets the sky in small round puffs revealing patches of blue sky through the openings. Are they dots and dashes of code or cotton batting stretched out? White clouds reflect in the river below. Mist rolls along the surface of the river and around the bend.

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I disturbed a Great Blue Heron standing on the water’s edge of boat launch ramp because I stood too close. It scolded me with a chortle while flying to the opposite riverbank.

A single gull circles over the river in front of me several times and then flies east around the bend. Four ducks fly in from their hiding places and ski into the water. Everyone is looking for breakfast. Today I see three dead and decaying salmon lying at the end of the ramp. This is the first week I have smelled the scent of decaying salmon in the air. I expected this fishy smell to saturate the air weeks ago. On my walk back to Fair Oaks Bridge, I hear the distant call of a rooster roaming on Bridge Street.

 

 

 

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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Guarding my Claim

Monday, December 17, 2018 

First the seagull stood on the rock and called to all other seagulls this was his claim. In this video, the seagull chases away its competitors for the dead salmon lying at the end of the boat launch ramp. A few minutes later, the ducks came waddling in looking for breakfast. They ignored the grapes I threw on the ramp. Seagulls enjoyed them as snacks instead.

Salmon Swim as Seagulls Watch

December 2018

Salmon completed their fall run this month. Most finished their journey home before Christmas.

A group of salmon splash as they swim upstream through the narrow, shallow river channel

 

This group of salmon swim through the narrow, shallow river channel. I watched them swim in the morning and sunset. Their journey continues. Some stop here to spawn, while others keep swimming. The weir (fence) at the Nimbus Dam blocks further passage up the American River. Salmon find their way to and up the fish ladder at Nimbus Fish Hatchery about 2 miles upriver from Fair Oaks Bridge.

seagull, salmon, American River
They all wait their turn to enjoy a salmon meal

 

 

 

Sitting in the rocky area near the small island in the center of the river, these seagulls patrol the water instead of standing at the shoreline wondering where is the food.

 

 

seagulls, group, salmon, American River,
The narrow, shallow channel the salmon swim through is to the left of the photo. This group of seagulls wait in shallow water for their chance to eat. The opposite shore is the deepest part of the river, where Buffleheads and Goldeneye dive daily in winter months.

Markers on the Trail

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

During walks on Fair Oaks Bridge and along the American River Parkway I enjoy taking note of how visitors mark memories of this beautiful place. I also caught a rare close up of a squirrel pausing long enough while eating to pose for this photo.

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A Noisy Morning

Sunday, March 24, 2019   710 am, 43 degrees

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Chickens wander Bridge Street calling out their wake up songs. Today was another chilly morning when my breath flowed through the air. A pair of fishermen launch their boat at the same time the sun rises over the trees to gently warm the morning. Thin white clouds hang in the sky like a veil over a soft, pastel colored sky.

As signs of Spring emerge, I see life at the American River in motion once again. Spiders spin webs on the side rails of Fair Oaks Bridge. Birds actively greet the morning with a chorus of tweets, rattles and coos. Ducks swim to the center of the river corridor and dive for breakfast.

I see them dive in one spot and reappear some five or ten yards away. Ducks fly in and “water ski” on the river as they quietly splash down. Green grass growing in between every board on the bridge deck is slowly turning pale yellow. As I stand on the bridge watching the wildlife, runners and walkers pass enjoying an early day outside.

Canada Geese, ducks, guard, boat launch ramp, American River, fishermen, eat, boat, battle, squabble
Canada Geese guard their place on boat  ramp

The arrival of several pairs of Canada Geese dominated morning activity with their loud honks and territorial squabbles. Another pair arrived every few minutes. All of them are in constant motion, continuously honking for most of an hour. A single goose stands on the concrete pier of Fair Oaks Bridge watching the scene, calling to everyone as they arrived.

After last week’s episode when the goose was rudely shooed off the pier as a pair arrived, I wondered if it was calling, “Find some other place to rest, I am not moving this time!”

Some geese perch at the top of the bridge truss. Others settle into the water. The first pair to arrive stake their claim on the boat ramp and the water directly in front of it. When another pair land in their claimed space, one goose rises up, flaps its wings, honks and shoos them away until the pair swam elsewhere. These unwelcome geese eventually fly away to a different part of the river. The original pair stand guard at the boat ramp.

I watch as each pair of geese arrives, they splash down in the river or wander to the riverbank nearby the Fair Oaks Bridge. Moments later, the geese rise up to circle east of the bridge, land on the Fair Oaks Bluff for a few seconds, take off again, and continue their circular flight before settling back down again into the water – honking all the way. The pairs repeat this pattern of flying in circles over and over again. As soon as a new pair geese land in the water, the first unfriendly pair quickly chase them away.

I wonder do they get a better view of breakfast swimming in the water as they swim overhead? Or are they stretching their wings and warming up?

mornings, American River, wildlife, waterfowl, ducks, observation, quiet, peaceful, swim, riverbank, Fair Oaks BridgeDucks are the only quiet ones this morning. I watch pairs fly in and swim as they emerge from evening hiding places. Paying no attention to geese squabbles, they arrive without a sound and swim near the riverbank.

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.

 

 

New Ducklings Wake Up

Wednesday May 1, 2019   7 30 am

ducklings, Fair Oaks Bridge, mornings, American river, ducks, babies, boat launch rampMy first view of the new duck family. As I approached the boat launch ramp, mama was sleeping quietly. Eleven babies were wide awake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wildlife Gather at Boat Launch Ramp

Friday, May 3, 2019, 7 am, 56 degrees

Soft sunlight glows through dense cloud cover. The air is chilled and heavy with moisture.

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I hear Canada Geese honking while swimming in the American River as I arrive at Fair Oaks Bridge. The geese fly across the river calling to each other, land on the riverbank nearest the entrance to the bridge. They rise again to settle back down into the river, now joined by another pair of noisy Canada Geese.  I notice that all the spider webs have been torn apart by the wind. I walk downhill to the boat launch ramp.

The bike path and driveway in front of the ramp are the center of this mornings’ activity.

rooster, Fair Oaks Bridge, mornings, walk, nature, outdoors, writing, nature, peace, lonely, bicycle trail, noisyA squirrel dashes across the trail, while the resident rooster patrols the street. The rooster walks beside me at first then wanders the dirt alongside the pavement. As I walk toward the boat launch ramp, it rushes to stand beside me. His feet scratch the pavement and feathers swish. As I watch the wildlife at this intersection of driveway and bicycle trail, the rooster continues to shout to no one in particular, over and over again.

ducks waddle, bicycle trail, mornings, nature, outdoors, Fair Oaks Bridge, Boat launch rampThree ducks waddle down the center of the bicycle trail. Two Canada Geese wander in the dirt alongside.  As I return to Fair Oaks Bridge. I watch one Canada Goose sit at the top enjoying a sweeping view of the river.