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  • Erin


Updated: Feb 2, 2022

I'm taking Dark Mountain's Kinship with Beasts class as their Imbolc offering. One assignment is to write as a animal from our territory and to celebrate Imbolc sunrise on the land.

I wanted to revisit a river-adjacent pond we had visited once on bike to see some animals for this assignment.

I didn't arrive for sunrise but made it out there about 8:30. It was my first visit by car and there was a bit of a walk along the powerlines from parking to river.

Driving there, a cloud of what I think were seagulls undulated asynchronously over the freeway. I haven't seen this before and first thought they were crows. I wonder if they are numerous because salmon are in their dying phase at the river? I didn't see any dead salmon today, at this spot.

The path to the river was Mediterranean-feeling; planted with Rosemary and what looked like young, but currently covered fruit trees. Orange trees hung over fences from nearby front yards. Two cork oaks stood near the path.

Disconcertingly I noticed the overhead power lines crackling as I bent down to see some miner's lettuce. Distant freeway noises and a distant construction site were audible.

The pond was really enticing to sit by but the side I could access easily was across from the rising sun totally glaring out my view. There was a phoebe swooping over the pond and some - probably - ducks swimming along, but I couldn't tell because of the glare.

I walked upriver along the raised spit of land between pond and river and the kingfisher (who I was hoping to see!) made a low flight from pond side all the way across the river where he perched directly above an egret.

I hadn't been here on these trails before and stepped more carefully than usual across steep and sandy parts, aware of my seven-months pregnant body. I wanted to stay a bit upriver of the crackling wires for the same reason.

I ended up finding a sunny rise to sit on that was closer back towards the wires and facing the river, kingfisher and egret. It was almost uncomfortably cold and windy when I arrived but with the sun on my back it felt very pleasant here. The wind hit the water and created a lovely, mesmerizing, quick piece of art. Ducks of different kinds flew and swam by.

I practiced owl eyes and was a bit reluctant to practice deer ears because I didn't want to focus on the crackling electric wires, but did and heard several different birds including that phoebe and the kingfisher calling from all the way across the river. I could see and hear lines of runners and bikers on the bike trail across the river too.

Early February Benchmarking

Previous year's post is here!

I like to use the Wheel of the Year as a trigger to notice year to year what's happening on the land around me seasonally.

Right now I'm noticing:

  • Been seeing kingfisher quite a bit. Usually solo. I think when I saw over the summer at William Pond they were a duo. Something to look into!

  • Miner's lettuce is starting and not flowered yet.

  • Lots of yellow oxalis flowers

  • Not as many kinglets as I usually see

  • Seeing bushtits regularly.

  • Mockingbirds, finches, lots of flickers and woodpeckers on bike commute to daycare.

  • Peas volunteered in our garden (or self-seeded from unharvested last year peas). They are about knee high!

  • Lemon Verbena looks a bit struggly through I've kept weeded around it all winter.

  • Toyon berries bright red in the foothills, none on our front yard toyon.

  • Manzanita flowers blooming.

  • Bees recently all over the neighbor's (willow?) tree.

  • We got lots of rain in late December and not much since.

  • Red buds haven't bloomed yet, but looking forward.

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