Sunday at the River Bend Park

I got up about 6:30 and headed immediately over to the American River Bend Park. It was about 53°F when I got there and was up to a hazy 62°F by the time I left… 4 hours later.

The first thing greeted me when I got to the park was the view of a male Wild Turkey strutting for a female out of the passenger side window of my car… and a gorgeous Red-Shouldered Hawk posing in a tree out the driver’s side window. A great way to start an excursion!

It was like all of the wild flowers got a second breath; they were blooming all over the place: Elegant Clarkia, Lupine, Monkey Flowers, Poppies, vetch… In some places the layers of color were so beautiful I had to just stop at gaze at them for a while. The Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars are all fattening up, and many of them were getting themselves ready to form their chrysalises. I also found a few chrysalises on the oak trees…

I found a Tree Swallow nest and as I was waiting nearby for the parents to come back to it and feed their babies, the mom sat in a nearby tree with a mouthful of bugs while the dad dive-bombed me and kept smacking me in the back of the head. He did NOT want me near there. I got a little video of the bombing runs… he came right at the camera… There were also a lot of White-Breasted Nuthatches around, and lots of Wrens; and I saw both Downy Woodpeckers, and Hairy Woodpeckers, but I didn’t get very good photos of them. The Western Bluebirds were out and about, too… so lots of bird sightings today.

Sadly, I found several dead birds as well… which isn’t uncommon this time of year. Fledglings fall out of the trees; predators get some of them and people step on some of them not realizing they’re there until it’s too late… Give the vultures some snacks, though, I guess.

Along the river bank I found a Great Egret, some Killdeer and Common Mergansers, some of what I think were Bank Swallows, and a mama Mallard Duck and her ducklings. The Mallards stepped up onto a large rock in the river (also occupied by the Swallows and Killdeer), and all hunkered down together to take a nap. Elsewhere along the bank, I watched a Green heron eating bugs and tiny fish from the water.

I didn’t see any deer today, but I saw LOTS of Jackrabbits. At one spot along the river there was a small of herd of them running around. I wonder if that was a sibling group.

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As I said, I walked around for about 4 hours and then headed back home. Once there, I put a pot roast and potatoes in the oven and relaxed for the rest of the day.