It was unbearably cold on my walk this morning, I almost turned around to head back home but I didn’t want to miss any wildlife that was out so I trudged along. I got to watch two Black Crowned Night Heron, one was standing on a rock in the river and the other was just west of the rock sitting on the river bank.
Within feet of the Heron were eight Common Mergansers swimming in the river. They looked like little battleships moving up and down the river. Sometimes they moved in a straight line other times they swam side by side. They moved quickly through the water with purpose and motive. Quick dunks down into the water meant it was meal time. Grasses and small fish were on the menu today.
Further up river I could hear a strange call coming from a nearby tree Jeeeeek … Jeeeeek … Reeek … Reeek. I stopped to listen and to warm up my cold hands. I couldn’t place the call but moments later out flew a Black Billed Magpie. What a fun bird to watch, their flight is so graceful and when the sun hits them just right their backs light up and become iridescent blue.
Home Sweet home … the warmth of the gas stove heating my cold hands and feet. A glass of orange juice and a cup of hot chocolate … aaahhhhh
I look into the bottom of my glass … nothing is there … is the glass empty?
No … wait … I see my reflection looking back at me …
I am not empty, therefore my glass is not empty.
Summer has come to an end, the last Osprey has migrated south for the winter and the river walk has been rather quite this week … until now.
Yesterday morning I watched a Yellow Legged Sandpiper walk along a sand bar looking for her breakfast. She quickly caught a fish and beat it against the rocks a few times before swallowing it whole. She then took a few sips of water and walked a little further up the sand bar before catching a small crayfish. She beat it against the rocks a few more times then she did the fish, before swallowing it down.
She must have gotten her fill because the next thing she did was begin to preen herself. She would dip her beak into the river, do a bit of preening, another dip, more preening. This went on for several minutes before she walked out of sight behind some over hanging trees.
I walked up to my favorite spot on the river and sat down on the boulder hoping to get a glimpse of the mink. I looked up stream across the bank and saw something dark sitting along the tree line. At first I thought it was a cat but then it turned it’s head like only an Owl can do. My heart thumped … a Great Horned Owl. It began walking towards the shore when it spread it’s wings out for balance. I smiled as I watched it kind of waddle back and forth with it’s massive wings spread, it reminded me of the wise Owl in the “Winnie the Pooh” stories. When it reached the water it gracefully lifted up into the air and flew across the river to a small grove of trees.
I was out this morning just after sunrise but just in time to be able to watch my first sighting of a Black Crowned Night Heron. It flew down river and up into an old snag across from me. It sat there for a few minutes allowing me to take in it’s beauty before flying back up river.
Summer ends … Autumn begins … with the change of seasons come all new birds to watch for … Love It.
I headed east up the river this morning and I hadn’t walked 200 feet when I got a glimpse of a doe. I could see the willows moving and the side of another deer along the shore across the river so I stood still to watch. I watched the doe pluck leaves off of a tree move a foot for two and pluck a few more. This went on for about 5 minutes when I saw movement along the ground about 20 feet from her. My heart started pounding … a fox. I watched as it walked slowly along the ledge and stopped quickly when it spotted the doe. It hesitated but then relaxed and continued it’s walk. It had the most beautiful fluffy tail with a bright white tip to it. Logan let out a little bark and the fox disappeared and three does went darting out of the willows and up unto the ledge. The four of them walked off together up the hill and over the top. A fifth doe was waiting for them as they crossed the summit.
Continuing on I saw a magnificent adult male Great Blue Heron sitting in a giant old snag. I had heard it call out three times as I was watching the does and fox. What a beautiful bird.
I met a few of the “regulars” out on the railroad overlook and we watched an adult Osprey fly up river and land on a snag across from us. A small brown mink walked along the shore just below us, it hadn’t been in the water yet so it was dry and fluffed out. It got into the water and played for a minute before getting out across the river from where we were standing. We heard a little cry and the bushes start rustling. A mink ran out of the woods and down to the shore with another mink quickly on it’s trail. At the rivers edge they turned and ran back into the woods. Another yelp and the chase began again. A mad dash to the rivers edge a quick turn and back into the woods. On the third chase they got into the river. The male swam right in front of us and climbed up on a rock showing us his little white beard.
A Belted Kingfisher dove into the river and came up with a fish three or four inches in length. It flew up the river turned and flew down, turned and flew back up river and one more turn back down the river as if it were showing off his prize to all of the other wildlife.
A lone juvenile Great Blue Heron stood in the fourth nest of the rookery as I walked by.
Heading home an adult Osprey came flying east along the river. It turned west and flew down to the water to catch a fish. I heard it hit the water but couldn’t see it because I was just a little too far up river. It flew up within view, it had missed the fish. It then flew a bit and turned and came back. I was within view now, it turned again at the same spot and dove again making a big splash in the river as it hit the water. Got it 🙂 It flew off towards the nest holding the fish firmly in it’s talons.
Once again Lord you have Blessed me with an awesome morning on the river …