Birds, Biologists, Seals, Otters and the River’s Mouth Opened

Monday June 15, 2015 Jenner CA.

River’s mouth opened up

I could see on the way down to Jenner this morning that the river’s water level had dropped which meant the river’s mouth had opened up during the weekend.

Two herons

These two herons greeted  me as I paddled across the river today. They were fishing in the grasses growing in the water on the side of Penny Island.russianriver


I sat and watched them fish for about an hour, sometimes they got pretty close to my boat. They would jump into the air and change spots right in front of me.birds3


Sometimes the great blue heron and the great white egret would fish in the same spot. My understanding is egrets are herons too.birds


The egret jumps into the air to try another spot.egret


Resting terns

After about an hour watching them I headed down the side of the island to the lower end where I saw about six terns resting in the swallow water. Here’s a couple of the terns. terns


Now that the water level dropped, the terns can find fish to catch in the swallow fresh water layer on top. The terns left the area when the mouth closed and the water level got high. When the mouth is closed the fresh water layer increases to about six feet thick, giving the fresh water fish a deeper layer of water which means they have more protection from things that want to eat them then they would when the mouth is open and the layer is much thinner, say a foot or so just for comparing.

Brown pelicans

I headed to the river’s mouth area and could see these three brown pelicans resting on the sand, with some seagulls in the background.pels


I could see the river’s mouth had opened up into the ocean.rivermouth


Sitting in the foam

High tide was coming in with lots of foam. I sat in the foam and watched as more of it came in from the ocean. The white spots out in front are foam streaming in with the incoming tide from the ocean and piling up where I’m seated as the ocean water dives under the fresh river water at this spot leaving the foam on top.foam


As I sat in the foam, I saw these biologists approach to retrieve the data from the sensors on the buoys. data


I could also see the harbor seals resting on the right side of the open mouth. I watched that black one on the left get over that bank. It made it with some difficulty.seals


I left and headed on up the river stopping long enough to say hi to the biologists which were still at the buoy.

The wind had come up some by now as I paddled along here headed up along the shoreline.russianriver2


The data collector biologists passed on by me headed up the river to get some more data.jeff


I could hear lotsa otters, but

As I was paddling along, I heard a bunch of otters in the brush here. They were making a lot of noise, but wouldn’t come out, so I paddled out in the river like I was leaving, but they still wouldn’t come out, but still made a lot of noise. One of the noises they were making was a chirping sound, lots of them. If I didn’t know otters where in there I would of thought there were a bunch of robins in there.otterhole


I waited about a half hour, but they weren’t coming out, so I continues up the river to the muskrat area where I sat before tuning back down the river.

I checked where the otters were on the way back and I could still hear them in the brush. Maybe just taking an afternoon nap which they seem to do a lot, like me. :O)

Did water make it into the swamp

Anyway, I was wondering if the high water level from the mouth closure was high enough to cause the swamp at swamp rock to get water in it, so I pulled into the shore there to have a look and eat some blackberries too.

If I remember the  estuary water level was just below seven feet before the mouth opened, which was just barely starting to get into this swamp area, so it was mostly dry at that level. That’s swamp rock on the hillside, just left of center.swamprock


Nice little resting spot

I had to hunt hard for blackberries, but I did find some to eat. When I returned to my boat here, I found a nice little grassy spot to sit down for a good break before heading on in for the day. As I was resting there I saw the fish tracker biologists heading in for the day in their boat.jenner


Questions for the tracker biologist

When I got to the boat ramp I could see Bill the main tracker guy prepping his boat for transport in the parking lot, so I was able to catch up to him for some questions. First question was which way did the fish he was tracking go when the mouth opened and the water ran out. He’s tracking little steelhead about three inches long I believe, which means they are fresh water, not ready for the ocean salt water. I though they might follow the current, but Bill says they headed up river, which would be away from the saltier lower estuary.

I asked a couple more questions before he was ready to leave and then headed for my car and headed on home for the day.

Yard work and van prep

When I got home I rested up and then went out in the yard and moved the pile of rock into the area where I dug the stump out yesterday. It wasn’t that hard as I used my brothers tractor which was parked close by.

After that, I did some more prepping of my van making sure things I needed were in the van, and adding what I needed.

That’s it for my day.

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