A Musk Rat, an Osprey, a Hawk and a Bonus Coyote

Monday August 4, 2014 Jenner CA.

I was thinking I’ve just been taking the same old pictures each day,…………But, not today

Not today. I had my boat in the water just before eleven AM and headed across to Penny Island where I sat around and watched for a bit. I was thinking, I’d likely just get some pictures of white pelicans and terns and cormorants today, as that’s been what I’ve been seeing lately. Oh and a few harbor seals too.

I started up the river on the south side moving along at my slow pace, stopping here and there for a bit.

Yellow jacket nest

As I passed Eagle’s Landing, I saw what looked like a great blue heron up in a tree along the river, but I couldn’t quite make it out. Was it a yellow jacket nest? Maybe, I took a picture for later viewing on my computer.

Yes, it turned out to be yellow jacket nest, most likely as that’s what I’ve seen down here a lot, but it could also be the big black and white hornet. I didn’t see any of the critters that lived in it. It’s a little over a foot wide and about eighteen inches tall and about fifty feet up in the tree.nest


Could it be the musk rat?

I was paddling along the shoreline and almost to Rat Nest Beach when I saw this in the water, the thing to the right, center of the picture and it wasn’t any clearer to me at the time either.muskky


Not an otter

Small, like an otter, but not an otter. There was a small log between us. I hit the paddle a couple times, keeping it low and not moving fast. The idea was to put the boat into a glide that would get me within camera range without scaring the critter away. I put the camera to my eye and stayed motionless and started snapping pics right away, just in case it dove.

Well, that critter just kept coming and I passed it within six feet or so, went right on by it shooting over my shoulder.

I finally had to move and it dove and was gone,……..for now.

Here is the critter just as I passed it on my glide. Musk Rat?muskrat2



Right away, more, a coyote

That critter dove and just at the same time something caught my eye on the shore just about a hundred feet away. A Bobcat? No. I had to get a little closer to see it.coyote


It sat down on the beach almost in front of me. A coyote.coyote2


I was getting a little closer paralleling the shoreline when it decided I was too close and got up and turned to leave, went a little ways and stopped and looked back.coyote3


That was my queue to back off, so I backed my kayak out further into the river, making it think I wasn’t interested in it.

The coyote came back and continued down the river shoreline with me following on a parallel course in the water.coyote4


I followed it for about a quarter mile. It flushed a couple birds, but didn’t get anything.

I could hear some ladies in kayaks in back of me coming down the river. They saw the bobcat, fox, dog, my dog running along the river bank following me, I heard them say. The were a bit load, to say the least.

That was enough for the coyote, it dove into the brush and I didn’t see it again.

This is the coyote checking out the ladies coming down the river in kayaks, not looking at me.coyote5


And then the elusive kingfisher lands close by

Just as the coyote dove into the brush, this kingfisher landed right near me, which is a rarity. This bird is a big tease and fly’s just as you put the camera up to get a picture, so it’s hard to get a close up of kingfishers. But today, I was in luck and I already had my camera up shooting the coyote.kingfisher


Getting a picture of the rat nest

I talked with the ladies for a bit as they were headed right were I was and then I headed back over to the Rat Nest Beach as I wanted to get a picture of what I think is the Musk Rat Nest.

It’s a good spot as it’s usually out of the wind and the sun shines nicely on the spot too.

The rat nest is in the grassy spot just to the left of center. The area looked real nice, like this, as I approached it to get a pic of the nest.ratnestbeach2


The nest is getting hard to see as it’s a real lush area and things have been growing up around it. The nest is the pile of sticks , with the fern in front of it.ratnest


A good spot to take it easy

Like I said, this spot is a nice spot to take it easy at, so I backed my boat into the shoreline and sat in it and looked out to this view looking down towards the town of Jenner.russianriver


The musk rat is back and coming towards me

I had something to eat and was just sitting there, sorta day dreaming when something caught my eye about three feet off the paddle on my right. The musk rat was swimming right towards me. My camera was in my lap, but if I moved, it would scare it, so I stayed real still and watched as it came under my paddle and came up to the side of my boat, right side, in front of me where my pack is on the boat. It was right in front of me and it looked like it was thinking about jumping up onto my pack.

Now, if I’d had my camera up to my eye, I might have let it, but since it was not, no way was I going to let a musk rat jump onto my pack on my boat about two feet in front of my face.

So, I started to move for my camera on my lap and it dove under my boat about the same time. I looked down and could see it swim under the boat and come out the left side and go up to my bow and surface. My moving to get the camera up, was enough to spook it and there was a big splash and it was gone for the day.

This all happened too fast to get any pictures and for a moment I thought I might be looking at this guy on my pack right in front of me.

Now, I know for sure there are some active musk rats that have moved into the estuary area. I was pretty sure there was, from some other signs, but this is the first time I was actually able to see the critter and get a picture too.

Buddy Birds

I headed on down the river along the south side and just past Otter’s log, I ran into some buddy birds feeding along the shore line. Little pipers.pipers


An Osprey

I was just going under the phone line on the back side of Penny Island and I looked up to see this Osprey, just as it took off.osprey


Down to the river’s mouth area

I went on down to the river’s mouth area and there were seals and birds there and I took pictures, but I’ve already used too many in this post, so we move on to heading back in for the day.

This was my view as I paddled back towards the town of Jenner.jenner


A hawk finishes off the day

I crossed back over to Penny Island and was paddling along the north side when I thought I saw a bird up in this branch, so I went over to investigate.

Some kind of hawkish bird was sitting there.hawk


It flew into the air as I passed.hawkfly


I was past ready for a nap, so I headed on in for the day and went on home for that nap.

Worked on filling the ditch back up

After a short nap, I went out in the yard and put some of the dirt back in the ditch I put the water pipe in. I worked on that until dark and got about a quarter of it filled back in.

That was it for an interesting day.

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