After work I went home to change clothes and have some supper before heading off to my naturalist class. This is the last formal class we’re having; next week is our graduation and the night when we each present our capstone projects.
After an intital lecture by Brett Korven of SMUD, we all went out onto the preserve for an hour or so to document the changes the river since the first day of class. When the class first started the flow in the American River was around 800 cfs; today it was around 2500 cfs… So a lot of the area we’d been able to walk on during the first excursion was now under water. That was kind of cool to actually witness and document over a period of several weeks. With the water rising in the river, the waterfowl were closer to shore, so we were able to see geese, Killdeer, cormorants, a Great Blue Heron, a Merganser, Mallards, a Great Egret, a Spotted Sandpiper and other birds or easily.
On the way back to the nature center, I also came across a large bullfrog singing in one of the man-made ponds, and a gorgeous blue dragonfly… and there were about 8 Monarch Butterfly caterpillars on the Showy Milkweed right near the center in their native plant garden. So that was cool, too.
Here is a video of the caterpillar: http://youtu.be/AumQUACdleE
Here is a video of a goose feeding in the river: http://youtu.be/gLmnI5JZKF8