Windy, So Went to Monte Rio to Kayak with the Critters and the Birds

Friday April 24, 2015 Monte Rio CA.

I read the weather report for Jenner today which said the wind was going to increase. As I drove down there I could see it was already a bit windy at Jenner, so I turned around and went back to Monte Rio to kayak for the day.

River’s mouth is open

As I put my boat in the water I could see the river banks were wet which meant the river’s mouth has just recently opened, likely yesterday.

I headed on down the river. I decided to take it easy today and only go down as far as Villa Grande, just a little over a mile.

Here’s what it looked like as I paddled along, headed down the river to just about as far as you can see which is where Villa Grande is.russianriver


Turtles are out

I passed by about four turtles sunning on logs along the river’s edge. Here’s one of them.turtlle


Duck catches crawfish

Just past the turtles I could see this merganser duck pair along the edge. The male was doing short dives fishing as I watched. I waited with camera ready to see if I could get a picture of it with it’s catch.mergansers


And I did. Here, the male just surfaced and still has a coat of water on it and it’s catch, a crawfish. The duck threw the crawfish around a bit before getting it down.duckcrawfish


It wasn’t far from there to Villa Grande where I sat around for an hour or so watching things.

Osprey nest

I spied this osprey up in this big redwood tree, just sitting there, quietly.osprey


It was sitting in the redwood tree on the left watching it’s nest on the right which also had it’s mate hatching or sitting on little ones?ospreynest


Otter tries to sneak by

As I sat,  I saw this otter trying to sneak by me at a rather fast pace.otter


I followed it for a bit and it popped out of the water here, all wet still, in this picture. It went into the brush and I didn’t see it again.otterwet


Eventually, I started working my way back up the river and was watching this great blue heron when it suddenly picked up a fish and swallowed it. The fish is still in it’s upper throat, that’s why it’s neck is so large there. It takes a bit of time for their throat to enlarge enough to swallow larger fish.blueheron


Big ol pollywog

Just below Monte Rio, I was sitting in this spot watching what I think is a green heron when it all of a sudden caught some little critter and proceeded to try and eat it. See the bird off to the right corner?fishsing


It had caught a French frog pollywog, which is a rather large pollywog, about three inches long. It threw it around, flipped it end for end, dropped it repeatedly and picked it up again, but just couldn’t seem to swallow it.heronfish


After about five minutes trying to get it down, it dropped it in the water and flew off. Normally, this bird eats little fish a couple inches long. It may be that the pollywog has some other defenses to keep from being eating? I’m not sure it was still alive or not when the bird gave up on it.

There were some guys launching there boat dock on the boat ramp as I approached so I paddled around for a bit to give them time to get things done when I saw this pair of Wood Ducks sneaking by using the bushes for cover.ducks


Here’s the guys pulling the boat docks up the river with their motor boat just under the Monte Rio Bridge. It’s that time of year when people start getting ready for the summer.monterio


I went on home and puttered around the yard for the rest of the day.

I can hear the pitter patter of rain drops on the roof right now which sounds good. The rain is just starting. I hope it keeps it up as we could sure use it.

Nice day paddling around the Russian River.

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