Wednesday August 5, 2015 Jenner CA.
Russian River Estuary
I hit the water and started on up it this morning to a fine day. These white pelicans were resting on the upper end of the Penny island as I passed. Some cormorants in the background.
I was out in the river watching these mergansers when the fish tracker boat guys came by and stopped a bit for a chat. They were picking up their fish detection equipment and I think it was their last day. I’ll miss chatting with them.
As the boat approached these mergansers started racing through the water. They can really move fast. I imagine their legs going round and round in circles when they move like this although that’s not likely the way they move. I see them move fast like this when they are fishing sometimes usually with their heads just under the water.
The biologists slowed as they approached and we chatted for a bit and said our good byes and they moved off towards the boat ramp with a load of equipment.
Nice spot to sit
This osprey was fishing
Muskrats eat clams
I stopped here and there along the way and noticed this open clam shell, so I stopped to check it out as I didn’t think it was just any clam shell. You might think that maybe this clam just died and there’s it’s shell, but there is something wrong with that thought. That’s what I used to think but something always bothered me about that.
If the clam died, it should still be under the surface of the river, not on top. This particular clam lives about six inches below the surface. How do I know that? I saw a little hole in the water back at the muskrat nest beach where lots of muskrats live. The hole was right in front of the muskrat area and there were several of them, all with this kind of clam shells by them. The shells were mostly intact. This particular clam has a very soft shell that is easy to break. I didn’t know this clam was in the estuary until I saw it dug up by the muskrats.
Some internet research on muskrats
A little internet research told me that muskrats are very patient and open the shells without breaking them. If the shells are all broken up, it’s some other animal eating the clams. So, let’s have a closer look at this clam shell.
At the edge
Look closely at the edge on the open half in the back. You’ll see some little chip marks, which I think might be made by the muskrats long sharp front teeth. Maybe they just slip those big front teeth right into the clam and kill it?
Muskrats eat a lot of clams I think
I’m thinking the muskrats eat a lot of clams on the river from what I’ve seen through the years of these open clam shells laying on the bottom.
On the way, I saw some of my buddy birds feeding along the waters edge, so moved closer to them. They were busy feeding and let me get to about six feet from them. They are pipers, but I call them buddy birds as they sometimes get real close to me so I can get a picture like this one.
Messed up feathers
I left it fishing and went on in for the day and went on home. I left a bit early today as I have a bunch of prepping to do to get ready to go on a trip to Nevada and beyond.I spent the rest of the day puttering, putting things in the van that I will need on this trip. Also greased the drivelines.
I need to check the air in the tires and that petty much takes car of all the things I need to do to the van before I leave. Tomorrow I plan to do some more prepping. I need to cook some stuff up and finalize everything to get ready to go tomorrow evening.
I was also outside doing some watering so everything won’t die while I’m gone and that was pretty much my day.