by Sarah Amador
These days, living on the Russian River is like watching an episode of Wild America. Our home borders the river, about two miles from where it enters the ocean at Jenner. We get to watch a smorgasbord of wildlife. Otters, seals and sea lions, Osprey, bobcat, and most recently, bald eagles.
Last weekend, I woke to the sound of sea lions barking just beyond our balcony. Over a steaming cup of coffee, I watched pairs of them splash and dive in the shallow river, hunting hundreds of migrating salmon and Steelhead. The wakes of the sea lions were so big they spanned the river, touching the sides of both banks.
Bald eagles have taken up residence here too. My husband and I watch them soar and listen to their calls. A few weeks ago, from the vantage point of our canoe, we spotted them for the first time this year. We may even have witnessed them building a nest.
The name of our canoe is Canoozday. It’s a beautifully crafted wooden canoe, nearly 70 years old. On a warm Tuesday afternoon in December, we took it out. The sun shone and the breeze was cool. The river was high, at least four feet higher than the previous week. We put the canoe in the water and paddled downstream, staying in the warmth of the sun. The canoe sliced through water dappled with sunshine and we headed to our favorite spot, a bird’s sanctuary not far from where we live.
“Did you bring the camera?” my husband asked. “Nope,” I said. “We’ll just have to remember it.” No Blue Heron or Osprey today—the sky strangely absent of birds. Lots of birds on the water. Coots, Goldeneyes, one Mallard. As we neared, they made staccato splashes and the wings of the Goldeneyes whistled. The sun slipped behind the hill and lit the rusty trees till they were golden. The golden hue continued into the water, with the reflection of the leaves and rising hills. After a while, we turned around. That’s when we saw two bald eagles soaring the treetops. Dark swaths of body and wing. Flashes of snowy head and feathery tail. One split from the other to get a branch from a redwood tree. It grasped one almost as big as it, flew a short distance, and then dropped it into treetops that formed a V. “Is it building a nest?” I whispered. My husband nodded his head in agreement.The bald eagles soared in circles, crossed each other’s paths, rose higher. They glided high until we lost sight of them. We watched them soar for 30 minutes. They never once flapped their wings. It was a good day to be on Canoozday. It was a good day to live in West Sonoma County.
Comment: Congrats on your blog assignment and thanks for this lovely word picture. My friend was just in Colorado and reported her sighting of a bald eagle to me. Make room in Canoozday for me! xo
Comment: Beautifully written. I felt I was there with you in Canoozday on a very good day in West Sonoma.
Comment: Loved this blog. Sarah is an excellent writer who really knows how to translate her experiences so the reader can “go places” with her.
Comment: Wonderfully evocative and beautifully written. I want to see those bald eagles.