Frosty Morning at the Fish Hatchery, 01-26-21

I got up around 5:00 am in pain and had to take some meds, then after letting the dog out to go potty, we both went back to bed until 7:00 am.

It was only 28° outside then. Wow! Brrrr!  Nevertheless, I got myself ready and headed out for a walk at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery.  It was 31° at the river, but warmed up to a balmy 45° a few hours later when I left.

They’re still doing a lot of reconstruction at the site and most of the area by the new (not yet finished) salmon ladder is fenced off and full of heavy equipment. You can get to the trail that runs along the hill beside the American River, and they’ve finished a new viewing platform with benches at then of the “paved” portion of the trail.

In the water were Common Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers, and Mallards.  I noticed that the Goldeneyes were getting harassed by the gulls. As soon as one of the Goldeneyes was able to catch a fish, a gull would attack it and grab the fish!  I saw this behavior about four times, but was only able to video the aftermath of the attacks. Those gulls were FAST!

Along the bank of the river were Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, and Snowy Egrets. When I was taking photos of one of the Great Blue Herons, I was astonished to see some early-in-the-season lupines and vetch in bloom. The plants are so confused by the weather.

And there were a couple of Green Herons inside the fenced-in raceways that usually house the salmon fry. There were no fish in the raceways today, though, because the cement raceways were being cleaned, so the herons got nuthin’ for their efforts.

Green Heron, Butorides virescens, in the trout raceways

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

I took quite a few photos of a small flock of Lesser Goldfinches as they wrested and ate seeds from the Starthistle. Then I saw a male Anna’s Hummingbird sunning himself on a twig, and just as I focused on him and took the photo, a female Goldfinch took his place on the twig. Hah! I guess she REALLY wanted her photo taken!

There were quite a few White-Crowned Sparrows around, eating cast off seeds and berries from the Coffeeberry trees. I also came across a Song Sparrow and got a little bit of video of it singing.

The big surprise of the day was seeing a beaver swimming along the shore on the opposite side of the river. I was able to get a little bit of video of it. I had never seen one there before, so that was a nice treat.

I walked for about 2½ hours.  This was walk #9 of my #52HikeChallenge.

Species List:

  1. American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  2. Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
  3. Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  4. Beaver, American, Beaver, Castor canadensis
  5. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  6. Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum
  7. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  8. Bush Lupine, Silver Lupine, Lupinus albifrons
  9. California Gull, Larus californicus [yellow legs; dark eye; red spot]
  10. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  11. Coffeeberry, California Buckthorn, Frangula californica
  12. Common Goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
  13. Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
  14. Common Sunburst Lichen, Golden Shield Lichen, Xanthoria parietina [yellow-orange,on wood/trees]
  15. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
  16. Glaucous-Winged Gull, Larus glaucescens [gray wings/grey wing-tips; red spot; pink legs]
  17. Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
  18. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  19. Green Heron, Butorides virescens
  20. Hairy Vetch, Winter Vetch, Vicia villosa ssp. villosa
  21. Herring Gull, Larus argentatus [spot on bill, gray legs, pale eye]
  22. Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus bifrons [white flowers]
  23. Hoary Rosette Lichen, Physcia aipolia [hoary, brown apothecia]
  24. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  25. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  26. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  27. Musk Stork’s-Bill, Erodium moschatum
  28. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  29. Prickly Pear Cactus, Indian Fig Opuntia, Opuntia ficus-indica
  30. Ring-Billed Gull, Larus delawarensis [ black ring, light eye, yellow legs]
  31. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  32. Soft Rush, Juncus effusus
  33. Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
  34. Western Gull, Larus occidentalis [spot on bill, pink legs, orange circle around eye]
  35. White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  36. Yellow Starthistle, Centaurea solstitialis
  37. Yellow Water Iris, Yellow Flag, Iris pseudacorus [invasive]