birds in land park

Bike Riding in Land Park and a New Bird Sighting

bike riding in land park

Swollen Sacramento River banks, below the levee for bike riding in Land Park.

Because it had rained so much last weekend, bike riding in Land Park was not a possibility, but I have been looking forward since then to go out for a bike ride with my friend, Tina. It’s different when you ride alone than riding with a friend. For starters, you want to make sure your friend doesn’t get killed in traffic or fall off her bike into the Sacramento River. The levee is close to my home in Land Park, so it made sense to meet at my house.

At the moment, I cannot squeeze my bike into my vehicle, and I am still fielding calls from buyers interested in buying a Porsche Boxster. When my new vehicle gets here, it will accommodate a bike. When I spotted Tina pulling up in front of my house, I began to wonder if she will criticize me for not wearing a helmet. I know, I know, all the reasons to wear a helmet, but I don’t like them, did not grow up wearing a helmet, and I’m just not gonna do it.

black phoebe in sacramento

Black phoebe in Land Park Sacramento sits in a maple tree.

Minutes before Tina arrived, I noticed a new bird in my front yard. A bird I have not seen before. It was a black phoebe. Just sitting there in my maple tree, looking around for insects, I suppose. I snapped a photo with my cellphone, but it’s too blurry close-up to see much. Sooty black with a white belly. I suspect this black phoebe is still a juvenile. They are fly catchers. You can see it in the photograph to the right.

I had planned to start our bike riding in Land Park by heading toward the Sacramento levee. This involves riding over to 5th Street, up to Broadway, where there are no bike lanes, but it’s a wide street, and we passed the new construction in Land Park: The Mill at Broadway. The new homes are springing up like hotcakes. They don’t pay a commission to Land Park Realtors yet, though, so nobody can have an agent represent them.

The best way to get to the Sacramento levee and Miller’s Park is to zip down Broadway, past the Channel 10 Tower and hang a left before the railroad tracks, where you would ordinarily hang a right to go to Old Sacramento, or the Auto Museum / Sacramento Animal Shelter. Then up the hill. Puff puff puff. We kept up the speed, as other bike riders flashed by, wearing helmets, designer bike outfits, slouched over on their racing bikes that featured turned-down handlebars, super skinny tires, bike riding in Land Park like bats out of hell.

I stopped to shoot a photo of the flooded river banks of the Sacramento River, and we caught our breath. The plan was to ride to Scotty’s Seafood, back up Riverside and around William Land Park. I know all of the secret paths. That was more than a 10-mile trip. Tina then laughed, “I was afraid you would lecture me about not wearing a helmet.” Glad we got that out of the way. I also haven’t seen the Sacramento river levels this high for probably 10 years.

Time to pedal. Along the way through the park, we stopped at the Land Park Pond in William Land Park to admire the Canada Geese and pairs of Mallards. I didn’t say anything about this being an Ingress portal. A male and female Mallard were both sound asleep, floating on the water, heads tucked in. A couple across the water were dressed in wedding attire, shooting photographs with their family. As we approached the bench to rest, a mother looked up from her blanket and hollered at her children to retrieve the snacks and drinks they had left there.

Clutching my water bottle, I glanced at the little girl, stretched out my arm and held my bottle toward her. Cheers, I said. The kid immediately grabbed her soda, raised her container and clicked my water bottle with a glint in her eye. Scattered clouds painted across a deep blue sky, warm gentle breeze, there was no better day for bike riding in Land Park. Just being in the moment.

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