On this second morning of 2015, the thermometer outside my window registered a chilly thirteen degrees. I headed for the river and arrived before the sun came up over the ridge, which this time of year actually does not require getting out of bed very early. The air was crisp and cold, and high overhead, the first branches of nearby treetops began to glow with the pink and yellow light of morning. Beyond the snow-crusted riverbanks that lay in front of me, a wide ribbon of ice had formed along the shoreline, stretching out into the river and creating a wintery ice-beach for a mixed flock of Mallards and Canada geese.
Up and down the river from where I stood, Mallards and geese rested on the thin crust of ice, heads tucked toward their backs. Others waddled and hopped into the current, ducking and splashing water over their heads and bodies, or rose high and flapped their wings for reasons I can only guess at. Past the scattered gatherings of ducks and geese, rafts of slushy ice drifted downstream, and a thin layer of steam rose off the dark water. Glancing up and downstream I saw no one, and felt giddy and fortunate for this cold, quiet moment in the middle of Reno, alone with ducks. There’s magic down here in the morning.
I’m working on a project this year to document Truckee River wildlife, and I’d love to have your help. If you would, please send me photos and information about the things you see down by the river. Better yet, record your observations here for other people to see. I’ll be using this blog to discuss all things Truckee River – wildlife sightings, history, ecology, current events, projects, and people. Thanks for reading!