A love letter to the river, part 2

As my days here in California dwindle, I’m trying to savor the things and places I’ll miss most. Last week’s post offered up the first part of a love letter to the river here. This week’s focuses on a more specific love I have for the river: the birds it attracts.

A Great Heron keeps a watchful eye from its nest.

Double-crested Cormorants line up along a wire across the river. I love their turquoise eyes.

White-tailed Kites perched in their tree before going on a hunt.

Perhaps it is the birds I will miss most about the river. Unexpected varieties of birds have became daily companions. I’ve searched for them on morning walks and brought friends to see them in pouring rainstorms.

The little Anna’s Hummingbird that perches in the same tree top each morning. The pair of White-tailed Kites who have their own tree to defend from interloping hawks. Owls I can hear but never see in the dimmest early morning hours. The big birds that come in hunting salmon and trout: golden eagles, bald eagles, osprey. Then there are the herons, egrets, cormorants, mergansers, and other birds who are ever present. I’ve even come to appreciate the vultures.

Encountering these birds make up some of my favorite memories, and I will carry them with me in my heart when I go.

Do you have favorite birds you see where you live? Or when you travel?


The flowers have already appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
— Song of Solomon 2:12

Is it any wonder that a woman who loves trees so much should eventually turn her attention to the birds living and dancing and nesting among those trees?

The last few weeks have brought early signs of spring and a stunning array of birds to the river, including what I believe is a Golden Eagle. I’ve spent countless hours out along the river banks taking photographs and trying to see the eagle again.


The one time I saw the eagle up close, I had no camera or phone with me. Probably Murphy’s Law in action. When I have brought my camera with me, the eagle is either in hiding or perched across the river, too far for a good, clear photograph.

I’m no birding expert, but I have started learning the names and characteristics of an increasing number of birds. I thought you might like to come along on a virtual field trip with me to see a few of my favorites.

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