Fish Eating Birds Feed in the Russian River Estuary

Monday July 7, 2014 Jenner CA.

Lots of bird action today

Getting out of bed this morning wasn’t easy. My body seemed to remember all the work I put it through the last couple of days.

But, slowly, I did get it going and headed on down to Jenner to kayak for the day, thinking it would be a good day to just take it easy and nap under some trees somewhere along the river shoreline.

Most of the tourists had gone home so it was easy getting my boat into the water and parking.

I paddled across the river to Penny Island where these four female mallards greeted me.duckies


The wind was down and it looked like it was going to be a nice day as I paddled up past the east end of Penny Island going up the river along here.view


I noticed some big white things moving off to my right. Some white pelicans were doing something over there? I was curious as I’ve seen the white pelicans eat moss, but never have seen them fish in the estuary. Were they eating moss or what?birds


As I moved closer, they took off and circled and almost flew into me, before going over to the other side of the river and landing.pels


Looking around, there seemed to be some kind of fish feed going on with all the birds, as I watched.

These great blue herons where waiting for some fish to come by from the other birds actions.  It’s not often I see three great blues fishing this close to each other.herons


I followed the white pelicans over to the other side of the river with my kayak trying to get close enough to see what they were eating? I watched them fish up and down the shoreline, but could never see the small fish they had to be catching. They were not eating moss today.pelfishing


They were actively fishing, putting their heads under water and coming up and positioning their bills to swallow some small fish.

I watched as they passed very close to these bovinosarous, which were also busy eating away.pelics2


At this same time, there were cormorants and merganser ducks fishing close by too.

Here’s some of the merganser ducks, with a few cormorants in there too. Yes, they are all fishing, splashing


Cormorants out numbered the other birds fishing and seemed to be herding the fish

There were a lot of cormorants and they were herding fish up the river. I watched them herd fish  from the Jenner visitor center, all the way up past the bridge on highway one, before they went out of sight. They would dive and drive fish ahead of them, is what it looked like they were doing, catching fish when they could.

Some of the cormorants fishing away, driving the schools of fish up the river.cormorants


I paddled on up to the highway one bridge while watching all the fishing action going on. I found a nice place to relax and had a bit of a nap, before starting back down the river.

I stopped in at swamp rock trail and looked for some berries. I only found a few, most of them have done their thing for the year.

More white pelicans

I went on down the back channel of Penny Island. There were a bunch of birds resting on the island’s west end gravel. More white pelicans and terns and seagulls.island


Fishing must wear these birds out, or maybe it’s digesting the fish? White pelicans resting.pellisland


Terns resting on the island too.terns


I saw these two birds sitting on a tree limb on the island as I went by. Note they have some white feathers on their necks and feathers on their heads. I wonder if these are the two young turkey vultures I saw in the nest a short distance from here , about a month ago? Older birds don’t have white here and mostly not much in the feather department on their heads.vultures


I headed on back in around five PM and called it a day.

Nice day with lots of bird action.

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