With the River’s Mouth Closed, It’s a Good Time to Paddle Into Willow Creek

Tuesday June 21, 2016 Jenner CA.

Looking like a nice day

I put in at Jenner today with the sun out and the wind down. I paddled across to the little channel on the upper end of Penny Island and sat around there for a bit deciding which way to go today.

After awhile I decided to paddle up to Willow Creek as with the mouth closed the estuary water level is high enough for me to paddle into the  creek a quarter mile or so.

This female mallard with her one, half grown little one caught my attention as I paddled by. They sure blend in, but not good enough as there were three, then two and now only one little one left. Life is hard in the estuary. Everything seems to want to eat every thing else.ducks

The estuary seems peaceful, but in reality, it’s not.

I continued on up the river and stopped here for a bit at the redwood log graveyard. The logs are under water right now.river


From there I paddled across the river to Paddy’s rock and went by these geese just sitting on the water enjoying the day.geese


I continued on up the river on the north side and paddled under this highway one bridge.bridge


This female mallard with the two little guys swam out from shore in front of me.bioducks


The biologists were across the river working their nets again today as you can see in the above picture.

Willow Creek

They were just past the Willow creek entrance so I left them at it and entered the creek here. The entrance blends in quite well and is easy to miss if you don’t know it’s there. It’s just to the left of the reeds.creek


I’ve just entered Willow Creek in this photo.creekmoss


Stuck in the moss

I tried to paddle through the moss right before the bridge, but it was so thick I got stuck in it. The moss tried to grab my paddle as I tried to get out of it. It was a lot of work, but I extracted myself from it and went around the moss as best I could.bridgewillow


I paddled under this little bridge that crosses the creek.willowbridge


Swallows nesting

The swallows were really doing their thing at the top of the pillars of the bridge. I sat there and watched them a bit.swallownests


I continued on into the creek which looked like this. I couldn’t go much farther then this as the creek is plugged up with willow trees. Beaver would love this area.willowcreek


I sat in the creek area for a half hour or so then paddled back out on the river and headed down the south shoreline stopping along the way.

I stopped here for a bit at the Grotto which is overhung by these pepperwood trees.grotto


I continued on down the river at a slow pace.

I was surprised by all these birds  resting on these logs. I was on top of them before I knew they were there and expected them to fly off, but they stayed as I paddled by.birds


I didn’t see this harbor seal on the same log until I was pretty close to it as they blend in real well and can look just like the log they are laying on, even putting out their flippers and tail to look like one of those old limbs sticking up you see there. This is one of my buddies from up river so it just looked at me as I passed.seal


I headed on in to the boat ramp and put my boat on the car.

Some car trouble

For some reason every time I tried to run  my car up the boat ramp, I had no power and would slide back almost into the water. About that time the Biologists pulled up in their boats and asked if I needed any help. I said maybe, but I let it warm up a  bit more and tried it again and the power was back.

I don’t know what caused that? I’ll keep an eye on that and see if it happens any more.

I went on home and just sat around the yard for the rest of the day just enjoying the passage of time.

Nice day.

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4 Responses to With the River’s Mouth Closed, It’s a Good Time to Paddle Into Willow Creek

  1. Meg says:

    It seems like the cormorants get along well. At Lake Hennessey I watched double-crested cormorants helping great blue herons build big nests. The herons did the heavy lifting, the cormorants filled the gaps. Then the cormorants built little nests for their own young right next door. I’m guessing it’s pretty safe to nest in the shadow of the herons, so a good situation for all concerned.

    • Bob says:

      Hi Meg,
      That’s an interesting observation on the birds. It’s interesting to note that these birds can work together for each other’s benefit. I’ve seen birds and critters work together feeding on the river many times. The ones that don’t eat each other at least.
      Thanks for the interesting comment,

  2. dangurney51 says:

    I’ve noticed that Cormorants and Mergansers often hang out together in the estuary, like in your photo. I wonder why they do that.

    • Bob says:

      Hi Dan,
      It might be because they both eat the same things pretty much. Schools of fish are always on the move in the estuary, so when you’re trying to feed on them, critters watch each other to see whose on the fish and fly over to join in the action. Cormorants can eat much larger fish than the mergansers can, but they both eat a lot of the same smaller fish and they both gang up in groups to hunt the fish down. I used to think the cormorants where the king of the fish catchers, but after watching the mergansers fish together both on the surface and underwater, I’d say the mergansers are right up there with the cormorants as far as being keen fisher birds. And since they feed a lot together, they likely get full and need a rest about the same time. Just my guess. :O)

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