Updated: Feb 2
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.