A Riverwalk Update

Birds of a Feather and Other Stuff

This is our 2nd winter snow-birding in Lake Elsinore. Last season we arrived October 31st and left March 17th. This season we arrived October 10th and are still here, but not by choice. A series of set backs struck us suddenly… issues with the RV, our dog Murph, Jeff’s body, and our teeth.

We wrestled with woes, worries, wallet, and waiting. With luck, we plan on leaving May 22nd to head to the coast of Oregon.

My point, however, is this… as we live here for another 2 months, watching spring bloom into summer, we get to experience and observe new changes in our environment.

The Riverwalk, for example, is growing into a marshy habitat

of cattails

and rushes…

…home to the great blue hero, often appearing almost walking beside me,

or popping up among the bright yellow wildflowers that turn into tumbleweeds,

or taking cover in the tall green reeds,

only to fly off as an impressive form.

Once, I saw him chasing 2 mallards in the sky, yelling after them with deep shrieks of annoyance.

Then there is the graceful egret who poses on fallen tree branches

and hides in the rushes

before making its grand exit of white against green.

Below, I sneak up slowly to catch a picture of this guy hanging out on the Riverwalk.

Immediately after I take the pic, he poops, ruffles his feathers and takes off!

What can I say? Just a pit stop, I guess.

The red-winged or tri-colored blackbird offers its bright red splash of color sitting atop the rushes. I try my best to capture the brilliant contrasts of black and red against the vivid green background. Unfortunately, after many many pics, this is the best I can do,

This pic below, taken from the informational plaque at the end of the Riverwalk, gives you a better look. (I did find a dead one alongside the path, but decided to give the little guy it’s due respect…)

These blackbirds don’t caw. They make high pitched peeping noises.

This bird has a beautiful pale orange tail and I find it just hanging out at the far end of the Riverwalk. I hope he’s okay and not injured.

The mallards paddle away

after skidding into the water chasing breadcrumbs tossed by the man sitting on the bench of the Riverwalk near Heald Avenue.

Then there are the fish lurking just beneath the shallow waters.

Catfish and carp thrive in the Temescal Wash’s marshy environment. Earlier in the spring, you could see them splashing and belly-flopping. (Of course it never even occurred to me to take a picture then!)

Crawfish shells start littering parts of the Riverwalk.

Who knew?

The Riverwalk is also alive with colorful bushes, plants, and trees.

Nearer the lake, marsh orchids line the Riverwalk between Limited and Heald Avenues.

Then there are these bi-colored plants adorning the Temescal Wash below.

After crossing Heald, however, the Riverwalk is lined with chain link fence and yellow wildflowers turning into tumbleweeds, until we cross Chaney.

Here, the Water Department is landscaped with these green bushes now bursting tall with yellow blossoms.

And, as we approach the turnaround at Highway 74/Riverside Drive the cottonwood trees litter the Riverwalk.

My grandfather, Poppy, would be so proud of me now as I appreciate the plants, flowers, and trees around me. It’s taken me 64 years to understand his passion with nature. I was too busy for too long to stop and want to learn more about the sights and smells around me! His brother, my Uncle Jim, would be tweeting with glee now too as I observe, enjoy, and listen to the birds. Hi, Poppy and Uncle Jim! I love you! And I finally get it!

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