When you live on a river, its lifecycle is of daily concern. The Guadalupe River in San Jose was dry in summer 2014 for the first time since we bought our house 18 years ago. California is in a major drought, with last month the first completely rainless January since 1849 (presumably, when record keeping started).
We are now in our second rainstorm of the winter. The Guadalupe riparian corridor is home to a wide variety of wild animals which are dependent on its water and ecosystem. Some of the larger creatures we see regularly in our garden include: Jerusalem Cricket (Stenopelmatus), garter snake (Thamnophis), Alligator lizard (Elgaria coerulea), American swallowtail butterfly caterpillar (Papilio polyxenes), arboreal salamander (Aneides lugubris), California Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus), Horsehair worm (Nematomorpha), as well as the more common ducks, geese, song birds, humming birds, hawks, vultures, raccoons, opossums, cats, skunks, and squirrels (grey, black, and gold). The river is also home to both steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and chinook or king salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). I am sure they are as happy as we are to be wet this week!
Here is what the Guadalupe looked like yesterday from the bridge at Alma/Lelong:
Roughly the same views five months ago (September 2014):
Images Copyright 2014-2015 by Katy Dickinson