Another wonderful story about our Parkway and the surprises that are often in store for the observant, from the Sacramento Bee.
“Roughly 5 million to 8 million people venture out onto the American River Parkway each year, but few experience Sacramento’s crown jewel the way John Buchmiller did this month.
“The 52-year-old Mira Loma High School teacher was on his bicycle at the Harrington access point in the Carmichael area on Jan. 5, trying to spot a rare sea lion visitor he had heard might be lounging in the river.
“At first I heard it breathing,” Buchmiller said. “It sounds like a whale in the water.
“And then I saw the movement in the water and then sea gulls following it. I was back four times that week and every time I would see it within minutes.”
“Buchmiller caught the sea lion on two separate videos, including one of the animal feasting on salmon or steelhead, and has set off a buzz among regular users and supporters of the parkway. The videos of the sea lion, which he estimates was 8 feet long, are below.
“While it is not unheard of for a sea lion to make it that far up the freshwater American River from the ocean, it is unusual.
“It happens a couple times a year where we hear about it,” said Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “It probably happens more often.
“A year and a half ago there was one way up in Amador County, so they do find their way up there. It’s a naturally occurring event, and the sea lion will get tired of freshwater and work their way back down.”
“Buchmiller, who has taught science for 12 years, said he had never seen one this far upriver, although they are not uncommon near Old Sacramento.”