Mama Owl and More at the River Bend Park, 03-10-18

I got up around 6:30 this morning. Even though rain was predicted for the day, I headed over to the American River Bend park for my walk. It was 48º there and totally overcast.

The manroot and pipevine at the river isn’t as “awake” as it is already at Lake Solano. We’re a little more inland here. It looks like the plants are about a month behind the ones at the lake… The Interior Live Oak trees were just starting to bud, sprouting out new leaves and catkins. Spring is coming.

One of the first things I went looking for when I got there was the Great Horned Owl’s nest. I wanted to see if mama was still there. She was! And she was sitting up in the nest, so I got to see more than just her plumicorns. While I was looking at her, a ranger came buy and asked if I’d seen the other owl, too. I didn’t know there was another one nesting around there! He said the second owl was off to the east about 100 yards away, along the bike trail, near the area where there are some bluebird boxes and where they’re doing a lot of restoration work. I didn’t over there to see it today, but I will be looking for it the next time out there!

I also got to see Wild Turkeys -– bachelor groups with the males trying to out-macho one another – a very cooperative Nutthall’s Woodpecker who let me take lots of photos of him, Mourning Doves, Acorn Woodpeckers, European Starlings, California Scrub Jays and Northern Flickers, and several Oak Titmice. I also was successful in getting several photos of some White-Breasted Nuthatches that were out and about, and lots of Western Bluebirds. Everyone seemed to be scoping out potential nesting cavities around the picnic area.

My walk was cut short when, what would’ve been halfway through, I got back to the car to find the rear passenger window smashed in. Cripes. That had never happened before in all of the years I’ve had the car and have been coming to the park. It looks like the vandal-guy tried to get in through the little passenger side side-window first (probably because the door lock is right there) and then smashed the larger window with a rock. Not a fun thing to come back to after my pleasant walk.

I checked through the car and it doesn’t look like anything was taken except for a jacket that was right by the door. I don’t know if the vandal was just really cold, or if someone else interrupted the guy before he could steal anything more. I don’t have anything really valuable in the car, but still… sheesh!!

And I cut my hands up on the shards of glass that were “hiding” everywhere in the backseat area, so now I have owies all over the place. And my blood usually gushes no matter how minor the cut, so there’s now blood all over the inside of the car, too. *Pouty face*

Rather than continuing on with my walk, I went back home.

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Mary K. Hanson is a breast cancer survivor who, at age 61, took coursework to become a Certified California Naturalist. The author of “The Chubby Woman’s Walkabout”™ blog, Ms. Hanson has also written nature-based feature articles published in regional newspapers, authored over ten books, including her "Cool Stuff Along the American" series of guide books, and has had her photographs featured in books, articles, calendars, on the American River Parkway Foundation’s Instagram stream, and even the White House blog. This year Ms. Hanson is helping to launch and teach a new Certified California Naturalist course through Tuleyome, in partnership with the University of California and the Woodland Library, so members of the public can themselves become certified as naturalists in the state. All of the photos seen on her website were taken by Ms. Hanson herself (unless noted otherwise) with moderate- to low-end photographic equipment more easily affordable to the everyday nature enthusiast. She also occasionally leads photo-walks through the American River Bend Park for the public and is sometimes available for public speaking.