The Peat fire remains active spewing smoke into the air. It’s evident in the morning because all smoke settles on the ground. But why is it more prominent in the morning? The air is heavier due to the fog over San Francisco Bay, the moisture binds the smoke to it making it heavier. The smoke holds the water until the haze dissipates leaving it just heavy enough for it to settle to the ground. But it’s not like it happens at daybreak oh no, the smoke settles around 3pm just enough to enable breathing. Along with the smoke our utility provider had a scheduled outage to replace a pole in the 100º F heat which enhanced the experience for them I am sure. It has to be maintained. A good thing about living in California is the State Legislature makes sure the public utilities work for the people. The fire is now keeping the critters away, they smell fire and head for the hills.
The Egrets however remain active, the reason may be their driving instinct to find food. I am as certain as I can be assuming they are tending a nest with some big fledgelings in it squawking for food. They are among the most predictable residents of the slough making appearances nearly every day. Due to their bright whiteness with a full Sun they get washed out regularly.
Birds are lightweight, every part of their body is designed for flight. Hollow bones, light feathers and thin but strong muscles. Their lungs are very thin as well making them greatly affected by smoke. I have observed the first day or two of wild fire smoke they will stay around. Longer than that they will look for bluer skies, they take in a lot of calories and a lot of air. To be successful they need a steady supply of each. Since the Marsh fire has taken over the sky the birds decided to let it have it; they will return when it clears up. Birds do the same when a disease takes over the area they migrated to. The critters will return when the smoke clears, however sometimes the Peat burns for a year or more.
Although the photo above is that of a Great Blue Heron the Egrets take possession of the same float. The Egrets are a bit more aggressive than the Herons but that’s not to say they are less territorial. They will during the mating season defend their spot with determination. The Egrets will start either there or on the opposite end of the slough then hunt along the West bank to their normal stopping point then turn around and return.
The fire burning in Yosemite continues, thankfully the Giant Sequoias are out of danger as of this morning. It is 150 miles East of me, at one time I lived on the Fresno side about 50 miles South of the Gate. It’s Rattlesnake country big time, I don’t know anyone living there any longer but it’s one I could move to. However Mrs. Lebec has this thing about Snakes; especially Rattlesnakes. I don’t mind them because I keep my eyes peeled and when I’m in their habitat I look for them to avoid them. But right now they are suffering badly as they only can manage a slow retreat. Wildfire is a situation that birds have the faster escape, followed by the large mammals, the reptiles and small furry ones are lucky to make it out alive. I don’t know where this will all end, I want to believe it will be OK; so I will.
Jacque Lebec Natural Self Reliance