Birds are Feeding on Fish in the Estuary that Usually Aren’t Here This Time of Year

Monday July 14, 2014 Jenner CA.

A nice day kayaking Jenner

After a great weekend with my reunion gang, I needed go get things back to normal, so off I went to Jenner this morning to kayak for the day.

As I arrived, it looked like the wind was going to be down today, which is always nice. There was a light wind as I put my boat in the  water and headed across the river to Penny Island, where I sat for awhile checking out what was going on in the area. I could see these birds resting on the gravel up on the east end of Penny Island as I headed out that way at my slow, leisurely pace.birds



The first birds I approached were these geese. The one on the left put up it’s wings, but the others didn’t, so I think it was seeing if the others wanted to fly off and they didn’t’, so it settled down, as I passed on by.geese


There were quite a few white pelicans, maybe 25 or so.

Here’s a few of the white pelicans I passed.pelicans


Crossed over to the other side of the river

As I paddled past the birds on the shoreline, I veered out into the river and crossed over to the north side to see what birds were in the area. As I approached the area, a flock of little pipers, I call buddy birds flew over my head close. They sure make a bunch of noise when they fly. It’s surprising how load that noise is. They fly very fast veering often, flying as one, sometimes right at my head, veering to both sides at the last second, making much flying noise.

Here’s a few of the little guys that landed on the shore as I went by, just below Paddy’s rock.pipers


Here’s another bunch of birds. Who says birds of a feather flock together? There are merganser ducks and cormorants and at least one seagull in this flock. It looks to me like birds of more than one feather flock together.flock


I paddled up the river and then crossed over to the south side until I got to rat nest beach where I rested and napped a bit.

Eventually, I started working my was slowly down the river’s edge. The wind was still down and it was nice out, as I paddled along.

Paddling along looking down to the town of Jenner.jenner


I went down the back channel of Penny Island where this great blue heron was feeding. It flew off as I passed, but not far.heron


Have you noticed there are a lot of birds feeding on fish right now? This is the first year in seven that I’ve been kayaking here that I’ve seen this at this time of year. Not sure what is causing this feeding thing. I know it’s fish in the water, but I don’t know why this is happening now and not before? The river is very dynamic and things change all the time.

Anyway, these egrets usually don’t show up here until fall, but they are here feeding now.egrets


The white pelicans don’t usually show up here until fall also, during the bird migration, but here they are fishing away in the estuary. One thing for sure, they are only here for the food. I’m wondering if there wasn’t a hatchery release or is it fish that came in from the ocean?

Anyway, it’s been interesting watching the birds and seals feeding on the fish that are in the water right now.

Headed to the river’s mouth

I continued paddling on down to the river’s mouth area. It was almost high tide as I approached and there were some brown pelicans fishing in the water in the mouth.

Brown pelicans fishing in the mouth

Here is what it looked like as I approached. The brown pelicans in the water were fishing away.rivermouth


Fishing brown pelicans as the high tide flushed in the ocean water with all the ocean goodies in it. Harbor seals in the background, resting, not fishing.brownpelicans


I sat around just inside the mouth waiting for slack high tide for about an hour. The pelicans fished away for another half hour or so before going to shore to preen.mouth


This and other harbor seals swam around me as I sat there. This one knows me well and is very calm in the water around me.harborseal


Some of the harbor seals and birds I watched as I sat in the water in my boat. We have, seagulls, brown pelicans and cormorants with the harbor seals.seals


Eventually, John, the guy that keeps Jenner clean of trash came by in his kayak. We headed up towards Penny Island where there were some more white pelicans on the beach.

Here’s two of these nice looking white pelicans, watching me as I passed.pelicans2


Jammed up boat ramp

We continued on to the boat ramp which I could see was all jammed up with cars and boats, so we sat out in the water for quite awhile waiting for the people to get it together and out of the way, which they finally did.

I loaded my boat and said good bye to John and went on home for the day. I was pretty beat, so I didn’t do much the rest of the evening.

Yard chairs to enjoy

I have chairs scattered all over my yard, so one of the things I do is walk around my yard going from one chair to the next. I stop at a chair, rest up and enjoy the evening, think a bit, then get up and move to the next chair and do it again, returning to the same chairs often, sometimes until after it gets dark, if it is nice out.

Summing up the birds eating fish

In summing up this post, it seems there have been a lot of birds feeding on fish in the estuary for the last couple of weeks. A lot of these birds usually are not in this area at this time of year. This is the first time I’ve seen this in the seven years I’ve been coming to kayak in the estuary.

The estuary is very dynamic and changes all the time, so nothing should surprise me. However, this does bring up the question of what fish are they eating? Just some fish that came in from the ocean, or fish from the hatcheries or someplace else?

Questions like these, keep it interesting and help keep me coming back for more. :O)

Nice day.

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