Otters, Birds and Fog Kayaking Jenner

Friday October 18, 2013 Jenner CA.

I’d say today was mostly an otter day

I never know what I’m going to see or what kind of day it’s going to be. I put my boat in at Jenner around eleven this morning. It was a little on the foggy side with a light wind and not too cold.

I drove on down to the river’s mouth overlook first, but didn’t even take a picture. The river’s mouth was open and it was a bit foggy too, so I just looked and went on back to the boat launch area. Because of the fog, I couldn’t see if there were any fish coming into the river just below the overlook area.

So, I put the boat in the water and put my warm stuff on and headed across the river to Penny island and headed up to Otter’s log where I spent some time before heading up to Eagle’s landing and over to Paddy’s rock which is just across the river from the eagle’s landing area.

This is the view looking back towards Jenner this morning.Jenner


I just hung around this area watching and listening, taking it easy, as usual. My boat had drifted back across the river when I thought I heard something splash in the water near the shoreline.

Looking over there, I saw these bubble trails, which I just happen to know are made when otters swim under the water. They seem to let out a trail of little bubbles as they go and this was the tattle tale sigh that otters were in the area.

These are some of the little bubble trails the otters make swimming under the water.bubbles


So, once the bubbles are spotted, it’s a good idea to look for the otters. I moved my kayak back out in the river a bit so I could see which way on the river they were moving, which was up the river. I’ve found that it’s better to move out, away from them, initially, to fool them into thinking you don’t have an interest, so they will go about their business which is usually hunting for food. Once I know what direction they are moving, I have a better chance of finding them again if I lose them. They are easy to lose once they spot you, as they usually head for the brush and a lot of times, leave the water in the brush area and go up on land for a little nap until I leave. So, it’s a good idea to make them think I have no interest in them. Sometimes I eat an apple making a lot of crunching noises to help fool them into thinking I’m just foraging like them. I’m not sure what really works, sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t and they try to lose me quickly.

Here I’ve found one in the brush, watching me and being very cautious.otter5


And another one pops up, checking me out too.otter1


They went into some bushes and I think up on land where I waited for them to return, but I seem to have lost interest and drifted up the river a bit more and I forgot about those ones.

I eventually started working  my way back down the river.

There were some birds taking it easy on the little gravel bar just below Paddy’s rock. Some cormorants and some ducks and maybe a seagull or two.birds


Jeff, one of the biologists passed on by coming back from his trip gathering data from the measuring devices they have planted in the river, mostly in the big holes. He and others collect data from several different types of measuring devices. Water temperature, salinity and other stuff is what they are measuring I’m not really sure what all, really. If I want to know what the water temperature is, I just stick my finger in the water and if I want to know if the water is salty or fresh, I stick my finger in my mouth and test for it after I’ve done the temperature test. My method isn’t as accurate as their method, but it works for me.

Here’s Jeff heading on back to Jenner for the day.Jeff


By now, I had drifted back by where I had seen the otters earlier and was noiselessly gliding along the shoreline when an otter popped up twenty feet in front of me facing away from me. I was closing on it fast and didn’t want to spook it, which I was about to do, as in running over it.

I decided to try making some little clicking noises to let it know I was there and not on the hunt for it. This worked and it looked at me and didn’t spook, even though I almost ran into it. It moved out of the way slowly and continued to hunt. I turned my boat to the middle of the river, went out about fifty feet and did a U turn and watched for what it would do.

It continued to hunt, so I came back in a little closer while trying to get some good pictures.

The otter came out on this rock more than once to eat what it was catching, which looked like some kind of little fish.

Here it is watching me after it just ate a fish.otter3


Here it is as it came back to the rock to eat another fish.otter4


We were slowly working our way down the river, when it came out of the water for this picture.otter7


A little itch and a scratch and it was gone for the day.otter6


Around two PM, I headed on down toward the river’s mouth to see what was happening. Not much happening as far as seeing salmon coming up, but that doesn’t mean much, as they can travel by me without being seen, since they travel under water.

Here is what the open river’s mouth looked like when I was down there today.rivermouth


I stayed down at the mouth for about a half hour then went on back to the Jenner take out and went on home.

I had something to eat and was going to take a battery up to the bulldozer and try to start it,  but a nap was in order first.

I guess I was more tired then I thought, as that nap got extended and the battery thing didn’t get done today.

Another nice day kayaking.

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