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  • Erin


We packed up a breakfast and made it to the river about 9am. Bright blue skies, 55 degrees. Hands full of buckets, shovels, trash can beach toys. We decided to try to go to the beaver tree and sit there and eat our breakfast overlooking the pond to see if we could see a beaver.

Amazed at kiddo's bird knowledge, last night while reading a book about Mickey Mouse going on a picnic in a park he pointed out a kingfisher in the background of one of the illustrations. He also recognized a kestrel in one of the bird books. I think that kestrel knowledge comes from his Bird Cards (bird card memory game). He also works them in to his imagination. While falling asleep the other night he was telling stories from his imagination and he said, "a flicker just flew in through the roof!". Then today he glimpsed a reddish hawk flying by and his first guess was it was a flicker (also red). Later on the walk we had to push through some brush which he didn't like and I said, just push the branch and say "excuse me willow" then the next one, "excuse me oak". On the way back past the oak, he said, "this is a live oak, why didn't you say that before?"

Today just as we started down the path, there was a pile of feathers that kiddo noticed first. Mostly small and grey. A couple were dark along the spine of the feather and then white with dark and brown stripes towards the outer part. Kiddo was really interested in picking them up and looking at them and thinking about what might have happened there. I think he was a little concerned that someone ate a bird even though we've talked about hawks and owls and cats eating birds before. He kept one of the feathers. My first guess is that they might have been quail.

Two of the garbage cans were put back out along the trail after being missing most of winter - we think to avoid them filling with rain. This delighted garbage-truck and garbage-bin loving kiddo. When we stopped to look at the second one we saw a big hawk with a very short tail sitting on the electric wires that run along the main trail.

Kiddo and I both looked through the binoculars at it and this was the first time that I know of that he successfully used binoculars. He adorably calls them 'noculars. I remember Carrie telling me that kids can't really use binoculars until a certain age, but I've let him play with them on and off and we practiced with them on our hike last week where I held them up for him and turned the zoom for him until he said it wasn't blurry.

We saw some ground-foraging stripey maybe sparrow looking birds in groups twice. They were very committed to being on the ground.

We got to our usual beach and the water was low enough to jump over the inlet to a little backwater to continue on to the rockier beach and the beaver tree. There was a log placed as a bridge that kiddo walked over. The rockier beach is also sandy, but along a fast moving part of the river with a lot of rocks in it so a little less quiet than the usual beach. Kiddo was really drawn to it today by the fluffy, diggable sand (the sand at the usual beach as been pretty hard packed I guess from winter rain).

I cajoled him to push on towards the beaver tree and he resisted until he saw a big (maybe vulture?) feather along the trail. We went a little further and couldn't get through the usual way due to high water and brush so we turned back to the fun, sandy beach instead of going around another way. Save the beavers for another day!

From the beach, the river is really wide and spotted with islands here. In the distance I saw a group of cormorants, one sunning its outspread wings, we heard a kinglet behind us and saw some acorn woodpeckers in their usual cottonwoods.

On the way back to the parking lot we saw two or three hawks flying over the field where we often see them. We tried the binoculars again and kiddo didn't successfully spot them this time though he did see them clearly since they were close. He also very excitedly called out when I was bending down to pick up my bag and he saw one fly back by!

Back at the parking lot we saw more magpies than ever all flying and calling together.

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