South Slough National Estuarine Reserve, Oregon Coast, USA
Crisp. Damp. Ever so still this morning. Fog inland, but here at South Slough the sky is clear. Sun raises mist off the meadows beside Winchester Creek. No sign of being near an ocean here, except the tide is coming easing into this slim creek, part of the South Slough National Estuarine Reserve. Slowly the current runs backwards, filling the creek.
The sharp call of a red-tailed hawk pierces the quietness. I have to find him before I’m sure it is a redtail, not just a Steller’s jay mimicking him. The redtail perches high in a Sita spruce.
I’m startled by a ‘clunking’ in the slow moving creek. The tide has lifted a big log and sends it bumping into another that is still grounded. Just a ‘thunk’ and then it slowly pushes free and slowly continues its journey upstream.
Another break in the stillness. This time a flock of crossbills passing through, pausing in the top of a cone drenched Sitka spruce to briefly check out the crop. Their cheerful tinkling always gives away their presence. The crossbills move on all too soon’ but now a chickaree (western cousin to the red squirrel) has found us and chatters away, announcing his displeasure. Must he interrupt us!