Summer Vignettes Along the American River Parkway

Landscape with Canada Geese
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2020

I am sharing a few early morning scenes from the banks of the American River. I walk the trails along the river several times each week for several hours at a time. I am grateful that the people of the Sacramento area cared enough to build a buffer area against flooding and to turn that almost 40 miles of buffer into urban green space available to all.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Summer Scene on the American River Parkway
Willow Creek State Recreation Area, Folsom, CA; JUL 2020
Summer Morning Scene on the American River
Sailor Bar, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks, CA; JUL 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

River Otters

River Otters
Sailor Bar, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks, CA; AUG 2020

Today I am sharing 2 images I took last week. A group of 5 River Otters were foraging in the American River at Sailor Bar. I watched their bodies slither as they dove into the water then came up with their head held high, swallowing their prey. It was great fun.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

River Otters
Sailor Bar, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks, CA; AUG 2020
The Otters were feeding. Its likely that the one with its head up is swallowing its prey.

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Breakfast Time

Downy Woodpecker on Oak Gall
Willow Creek State Recreation Area, American River Parkway, Folsom, CA; AUG 2020

I am sharing images of birds and of an otter that are enjoying breakfast time. I watched as they worked hard to get their meal.

This year, I have had many opportunities to see animals hunt and eat. I am truly grateful to have had those opportunities and thankful that I only had to pull mine from a cupboard.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Acorn Woodpecker
Mississippi Bar, American River Parkway, Orangevale, CA; AUG 2020
Female Belted Kingfisher
Mississippi Bar, American River Parkway, Orangevale, CA; JUL 2020
House Finch on Blue Elderberry
Mississippi Bar, American River Parkway, Orangevale, CA; JUL 2020
Juvenile American Robins
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUL 2020
Great Blue Heron with Prey
Mississippi Bar, American River Parkway, Orangevale, CA; JUL 2020
River Otter with Prey
Sailor Bar, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks, CA; AUG 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Folsom and Sierra Foothills

American River Gorge, Folsom, CA
Looking downstream on the American River toward footbridge in Folsom, CA after heavy rains. JAN 2017

Today I decided to share a few scenes from the area around Folsom, CA. Folsom is the site of the Folsom Prison that Johnny Cash put on the map. But there is more. It sits along the American River near the western end of the Sierra Nevada foothills. The small section of old town Folsom is still very nice. The outskirts are surrounded by oak woodlands primarily used for ranching.

Note: Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution

Lighting the Path
Historic Footbridge across American River, Folsom, CA. JAN 2
Reawakening
Auburn State Recreation Area, Auburn, CA, FEB 2015
Sierra Foothills, P2
Scott Rd, Folsom, CA. AUG 2014
Thunderclouds over the Sierra bring rain but not to the drought ridden foothills.
Sierra Foothiils, Moonrise Over the Foothills
Scott Rd, Folsom, CA, JAN 2015
Early Morning at Folsom Lake
Doton’s Point, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, Folsom, CA; MAR 2019
Sunset Over the Foothills
Scott Rd, Folsom, CA, JAN 2015
American River Gorge in Fog
American River Gorge, Folsom, CA; JAN 2017
Rainbow Bridge
Rainbow Bridge arch after heavy rains
Folsom, CA. JAN 2017

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Vultures and Other Scavengers

Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) Feeding On Salmon;
Lake Natomas, American River Parkway, Gold River, CA; NOV 2019

In Sacramento, we are privileged to live along the American River. This mighty river is one of many that provide spawning territory for salmon. Spawning is the last great act of these creatures; after they spawn, they die. Though it is the end for them, their death provides nutrients for plants and other animals. When the Salmon run gets underway, migrating Turkey Vultures and Gulls arrive and supplement the year-around population and clean up the carcasses.

Scavenging is not limited to the Salmon carcasses. I’ve also found a Raven with the carcass of a dead bird. Hunting and killing is not normal behavior for the Raven so most likely it found the carcass.

Look closely at the rocks among the vultures. Some of what looks like rocks are part of the carcasses.

Note: Please click on caption to see images at higher resolution.

Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) Feeding On Salmon;
Lake Natomas, American River Parkway, Gold River, CA; NOV 2019
Western Gull (Larus occidentalis) Picking on Salmon
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; OCT 2019
Common Raven (Corvus corax) with Scavenged Meal;
Willow Creek Recreation Area, Folsom, CA; OCT 2019

These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Some North American Deer

White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) browsing in the Snow,
Along Rt 30 near Everett, PA; FEB 2019

Here are some images of deer I recently photographed.

The White-tailed deer were spotted in rural southwestern Pennsylvania (US) grazing through some new fallen snow.

The Black-tailed Mule Deer was taken at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center here in Sacramento. I suppose he was taking a break after the rut. He’ll soon drop his antlers and begin growing them anew.

By the way, if you are ever in the Sacramento area, you should pay a visit to the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. You are almost guaranteed to see deer, wild turkeys and many birds. I occasionally see a jack rabbit and coyotes also.

Black-tailed Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) Buck In Winter,
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JAN 2019

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

These and otehr images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Some Small and Pretty Birds

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audobon Group (Dendroica Coronata)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2018;

Here are a few pretty, small birds we see around the Sacramento area.

Note: Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis),
Sailor Bar, Fair Oaks, CA; JAN 2019
Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus);
Sailor Bar, Fair Oaks, CA; JAN 2019
Female Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria)
Sailor Bar, Fair Oaks, CA; JAN 2019

These and other images are available for purchase on my website, www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

The Salmon Run

Chinook Salmon Nest Building, Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2018

In November and December, the Chinook or King Salmon make their run into rivers along the Pacific Coast to spawn. Here, in Sacramento, they spawn in the American River. They lay their eggs in gravelly nests in shallow river beds. They need clean, cool, oxygenated, sediment-free fresh water for their eggs to develop. That means water that runs freely. Visiting Effie Yeaw Nature center yesterday, I got to watch some of the salmon preparing nests.They swam around in tight circles contorting their bodies and swishing their tail fins to clean any sediment from an area of river gravel. When they are done, the females will lay their eggs and the males will fertilize them. When finished spawning, both the males and females die. After the eggs hatch, those that survive mature for a few months then find their way to the ocean. If you walk along a river where salmon breed, look for an area where rocks are clean and shiny – it may be a salmon nest. They are usually about 6 feet by 2 feet.

I learned recently that prior to damming the American River,the salmon had a spawning ground of over 100 miles in the main river and tributaries. After the damming, it was reduced to 8 miles. To compensate, there is a fish hatchery just downstream from the Nimbus Dam. They open the fish ladders in November and December to capture salmon and spawn them. When the eggs hatch and grow to about 40 salmon per pound, they are released. They tag these salmon in some way and have tracked a 5 in 1000 success rate in salmon returning to breed. After the salmon run, they catch and spawn steelhead. The steelhead naturally come upstream to dine on salmon eggs.

In California, allocation of water is a contentious issue.Farmers have been promised water for irrigation and have seen those promises go unfulfilled, especially in years of drought. One of the oft sited points of contention is the amount of water required to support fisheries. As I pointed out above, the salmon need clear, cool, fresh water for their eggs to develop.Water that is kept in dams gets warmer and of course the outflow into the river is smaller. In order to protect the salmon fisheries, not just for human consumption, but also to keep the food chain enabled, some of the water needs to keep flowing from the dams. Many people rely on the fishing industry for their livelihood; not just for recreation. There are many other factors to consider. But, for this portion of the discussion, we must ask ourselves if the lettuce, almonds or beef are more important than the salmon to our diet because this is one of the compromises that need to be worked out.

Note: Click on caption to see image in higher resolution

Chinook Salmon, Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; NOV 2018

Note: These and other images are available to purchase on my website, www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us

American River Near Folsom

Image of American River Gorge near Folsom, CA
American River Gorge, Folsom, CA, Jan 2017

Last Friday was a cold, foggy morning and we had just come out of a long bout of heavy rain.  A lot of water was being released from Folsom Lake and the American River, near Folsom was running strong.  I decided to spend some time photographing the area of Folsom that surrounds the historic Walker Bridge / Donald W. Alden Memorial Bridge.  It was a great time to be out.  The river roared as it created whitewater through the gorge. Quite a treat.  In the 5 years that I have lived in the area, I never saw significant whitewater or heard the river roar.

The Walker Bridge / Donald W. Alden Memorial Bridge was built in 1893.  It was sold 3 times: once to a man in Japan who wanted it for the steel but was never able to get it, once to the State of California who dismantled it and moved it near Walker, CA to span the Klamath River, and finally back to the City of Folsom who reinstalled it on its original abutments.  It now serves as a pedestrian footbridge and an access point to the American River Parkway from the City of Folsom.

I hope you enjoy these images.

Note: Click on image to see in larger size.  I particularly recommend this for the image of the American Rive Gorge.

Image of Walker Bridge / Donald W Alden Memorial Bridge, FOlsom, CA in Fog
Walker Bridge / Donald W Alden Memorial Bridge, Folsom, CA

Image of Rainbow Bridge arch after heavy rains, Folsom, CA. JAN 2017
Rainbow Bridge Arch, Folsom, CA

Regards,

Larry

 

These and other images are available to purchase at my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us.

Birds

I am not typically a bird photographer.  When I do shoot birds, I try to take them in the context of their environment, trying to answer the questions: this is who I am and this is how I survive.  Living in the Sacramento, CA area affords me the opportunity to shoot migrating winter birds but, I find I really like to go back to the usual suspects – herons, egrets, Canada geese and mallards, hawks.  Learning about them, observing their behavior gives me a lot of pleasure.

The last week or so, I’ve had the added pleasure of trying out my new Fujinon 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 lens and 1.4X Tele-converter.  Its a great lens but its been more than a year since I shot with a long lens so, I made a few depth of field mistakes.  Oh well, I guess I just need to go out and shoot more.

Anyway, here are a few images I shot.  I hope you enjoy them.

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Great Egret

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Canada Goose

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Snowy Egret

Mountain Plover - Winter Plummage
Mountain Plover

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Red Shouldered Hawk

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret