welcoming calm, vast emptiness…

Greetings to all you Nature Enjoyers,

male MERGANSER cruising by….

This time of year the river is teaming with a wide array of bird vignettes, that raise your curiosity and make you chuckle. You’ll discover that time ran like sand through your fingers while you were watching the river migratory arrivals. You’ll take a ton of photos of empty water surface or mysterious shapes, because the diving ducks were quicker than your trigger finger. The other morning I allowed myself the freedom to let my senses to disconnect my active mind and create that refreshing space of calm, vast emptiness, which Nature’s creatures filled with quirky episodes. And so my journey through that magic realm began: I had finished watering the new native plants and noticed that there was no bird activity in the water nor the bushes. The low tide offered the shore and wading birds long stretches of enticing shorelines, yet there were none ~ not even one SNOWY EGRET. I scanned the Trestle trees, hoping to see either the OSPREY or the PEREGRINE Falcon, but neither one was gracing their preferred bare branch.


Just as I was thinking: ” Where is everybody?” a SNOWY EGRET landed on a rock right below me with its crest feathers going in every directions. The white beauty had the bad feather-do quickly under control ~ just in time to squawk annoyed at its cousin, who got unnerved by that unfriendly welcome and kept sliding off its hoped for perch, ending up in the water. The next savvy newcomer landed a save distance from the other two. It was amazing to witness Nature decorate the shoreline below me with 15 SNOWY EGRETS in less than 10 minutes! In the meantime the water surface in front of me had gotten busy with BUFFLEHEADS, COMMON GOLDENEYES, PIED-billed GREBES, PELAGIC CORMORANT. Some were doing their social rounds, intermingling for a short while with other groups before visiting the adjacent ‘feather folks’. Others just couldn’t stop their diving – one second there gone the next – to pop up again in a totally different spot.

male COMMON GOLDENEYE trying to impress one of the “Three Sisters”…

It was a kick to watch the ‘Three Sisters’. These 3 female COMMON GOLDENEYES ladies clearly enjoyed each others company. If any other diving duck approached, they either disappeared below the water surface or swam away in unison. A male COMMON GOLDENEYE couldn’t get it through his head that the ‘Three Sisters’ weren’t enthralled by his handsome feather attire. Finally the ladies ditched him with an extremely long dive…Scanning the other river shore showed the SPOTTED SANDPIPER foraging eagerly at its prime location. This little river resident’s priority was clearly food. It dashed up and down the shoreline, never once stopping or lifting its head. The grand finale was hearing the OSPREY call, then see her circle the Trestle trees, land on her beloved branch and hear an OSPREY response call close by. Maybe one day my wish will come true: the OSPREY couple will successfully build a nest at the lower San Lorenzo River.

Malia and Ivan…

Last Saturday we had 1 scheduled and 1 unexpected visitor at the Estuary Project day. Malia, our CityServe liaison extraordinaire, had planned to swing by so that we finally could meet in person. Thanks to her guidance my necessary paperwork looks mighty fine. She quickly became a part of our small team plus she offered to help plant Toyon bushes. It was Malia, who introduced us to the unexpected visitor with the remark: ” Watch out – there is a huge spider!”. She was not exaggerating ~ it was astonishingly big and beautiful.

unexpected visitor: Banded Garden Spider…

None of us had any clue who we were starring at since none of us had ever encountered a Banded Garden Spider. We picked it up and put it in a cozy place. BTW: Should you ever meet one you’ll probably agree with Malia’s remark…
Sending you River Chirps and Cheer ~ jane

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