A Dam, a Closed River Mouth, Some Birds and Some Planes

Wednesday October 2, 2013 Monte Rio, CA.

The Guerneville dam is out all the way now

I was down at the Guerneville dam at Johnson’s Beach around noon to see how the guys were doing taking the dam down. When I arrived, no one was there, but the dam was down, so they must have finished this morning. All the lower river dams are out now, except the Sonoma County Water Agency rubber dam at Wohler bridge, which stays up most of the time, except when the river is real high.

This is a picture of what’s left after the Guerneville dam has been removed. The fish ladder on the far side still has to go and it’s ready for the winter.damout


This is a picture looking up stream from the dam at the old Guerneville bridge showing the river water level down with the dam out.johnsonsbeach


And the Russian River’s mouth is still closed

Since there was no one at the dam, I didn’t dally too long and decided to go down to Jenner and check out the river’s mouth closure and see what the gage at the visitor’s center reads. I already read the wind report for Jenner before I left so I knew the wind was likely going to be up and it was.

I first drove to the river overlook on highway one, just past Jenner and this is what the closed river’s mouth looked like today. Closed up tight with a rough ocean.rivermouthclosed


Then I went back to the visitor’s center where the boat launch was and looked at the gage which read about six feet yesterday, so it has risen about four inches since yesterday, mostly from the dams being taken out. The Sonoma County Water Agency used to open the river’s mouth up with machines when it read seven feet, but I heard they aren’t going to do that anymore.gage


I’m not sure what is going to happen when the river rises enough to start causing some problems, but it might be interesting, so I plan to keep documenting the mouth closure for now as often as I can.

I went up to the upper parking lot, just before I left for Monte Rio and this is the view up the river today. Just a little wind, not really too bad.jenner


Kayaking Monte Rio on calm water

But not nearly as calm as Monte Rio as shown in the picture below going down stream just below the launch ramp, just after I put my boat in the water.riverview


I didn’t feel like paddling much today, my arms were sore from something, so I headed down stream at a very slow pace, stopping a lot.

I passed a few male mallard ducks and they came right over by me, so I got a couple pictures of these colorful birds.mallard2


A male mallard duck up close. Mallards tend to be a bit more on the friendly duck type, especially in the Monte Rio area.mallard


Villa Grande Hole area is always a nice place to sit and relax

Eventually I made it down to the Villa Grande Hole, where I sat around some more. There were a couple of cormorants up in an old dead tree, back lit by the sun. The old dead tree has a lot of character, the woodpeckers have cut holes near the top.cormorants


I hung around Villa Grande for awhile before paddling back up the river. I heard something splashing in the brush and then this blue jay popped up all wet and sat in the sun and preened. bluejay


And just a little further up, I saw this great blue heron sitting way up in the trees. It was sitting in the sun and looked like it’s beak was open  to cool off as it was warm up there.



Other types of birds came by today too

And shortly after that, a big plane flew just over my head and then another one and another one, and another one.  I lost count, Were they circling or what, they were coming around pretty fast if they were. Looking close, it says CDF, which is now Cal Fire, so these were fire fighting planes that drop fire retardant. They must have been leaving the county airport and going someplace. No fires around here. Very impressive show.plane


All this excitement, I was tired out as I approached the Monte Rio take out. Something caught my eye under some trees so I went over to investigate. A couple of female wood ducks were sitting on a dead tree branch, a little concerned of me checking them out.woodducks

I’ve noticed quite a few wood ducks today. They have returned from somewhere. And have been increasing in numbers in this area for some time now, since I first started to encounter them a number of years ago.

After that, I went over to the boat ramp and put my boat on the car and went on home for a nap.

Quite a few bird types today. Nice day on the river at Monte Rio.

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