An Eagle and I Share a Day On the Russian River Estuary in the Rain

Friday January 16, 2015 Jenner CA.

It was raining lightly when I got it going this morning and it didn’t look like I was going to let up like the weatherman said.

But sometimes when it raining here, it’s not raining in Jenner, so I headed on down that way with my rain gear, just in case.

Well, the light rain continued all the way down to Jenner,  so I drove to the overlook on the highway overlooking the river’s mouth to give the rain a a chance to stop.

This was my view of the open river’s mouth from the overlook on the highway. It’s low tide and the mouth is open.russianriver


A lot of sand has piled into the mouth channel causing the river to back up to a higher level. When this happens, the river stays high at low tide and doesn’t follow the ocean  down to the low tide level. This condition also sets up the estuary water to layer up, with the colder and denser ocean water going down under the warmer lighter river water, which creates a layer of salt ocean water on the bottom and the warmer fresh river water layered on top of the salt water.

There were some harbor seals resting down there on the sandy beach. Note the high tide washes over this sand bar when it happens.seals


I drove on back to the Jenner boat launch where I decided to put my boat in the water even though it was still raining real lightly. I put on my rain gear and headed across to Penny Island. At least the wind was down to a low breeze.

As I paddled into the little channel on the up river end of the island a bald headed eagle flew out of  the trees just over my head and headed on up the river towards eagle’s landing.

The direction of the breeze was blowing right into that channel so I continued on up the river along the south shoreline, thinking I might catch up to that eagle at eagle’s landing.

I took my time moving along slowing and stopping here and there along the way.

Sure enough, as I approached eagle’s landing, the eagle was sitting up in the tree and looked like this in the light rain.baldeagle


I was sitting under the eagle when it took off and flew over to Paddy’s rock as I watched.

Here the eagle is about to land on Paddy’s rock. Note the cormorants are bailing out and want nothing to do with the eagle.eaglerock


The eagle lands after the cormorants leave.eaglelands

Continuing on up the river, I made it to Muskrat nest beach where  I sat and took it easy for a bit in the light rain. It didn’t seem like that light rain was going to stop today.

This was the view as I looked on down the river towards Jenner in the light rain.jenner


With the light rain, I didn’t stay too long in that spot and crossed over the river to the other side to check for birds along the shoreline. There weren’t many birds around today. They don’t seem to like the bad weather so seem to fly off to someplace nicer.

I was coming up on Paddy’s rock where the eagle had been earlier and it was still there sitting on that rock as I approached.eagle2


I had to squeak by the rock and the shoreline to get by and suspected the eagle would fly off, but it didn’t.

I went by the eagle and left it sitting there in the rain.eagle


I continued on down the river and decided to at least go down to the lower end of Penny island. As I did, the light rain let up a little, but started a stopped as I paddled along. I thought maybe it would stop for good, but it didn’t.

This was the view as I approached the end of Penny Island. I watched some harbor seals hanging out in front of the island for a bit, then turned and headed in for the day.island


On the way in, I went past this great egret fishing in some reeds.egret


I decided to pull out early today, so I could go home and sit by the phone just in case I got a call about my next doctors appointment. I pulled my boat out and drove on home in the light rain.

I hung my stuff up to dry and took it easy for the rest of the day. The phone didn’t ring today, maybe Monday?

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2 Responses to An Eagle and I Share a Day On the Russian River Estuary in the Rain

  1. suzie says:

    Your photography work is amazing; I’m so envious of the Eagle photos especially.
    I took a photo of you kayaking at Jenner recently. We were parked up off of Hwy 1,
    watching the seals, and chatting with friends, when you sped by. I’d like to send it to you. Kindly leave me an email, and I’ll send it to you. Thanks Bob.

    • admin says:

      Hi Suzy, There seems to be more eagles coming around each year, so you may get a chance to get some good photos of them yet.
      I’d be happy to check out your pic of me.

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