Fish Trackers and White Pelicans, Paddling the Russian River Estuary

Friday August 29, 2014 Jenner CA.

I wasn’t sure how busy Jenner would be with the start of the holiday. I took a chance and went on down to paddle for the day. Not many people around yet. Good. The fish tracker biologists was prepping his boat to put in the water as I drove into the parking lot.

I put my boat in the water and parked the car. I headed on over to Penny island and on up the river as I could see the pelicans resting up ahead.whitepelicans

 

They must have had a good morning fishing as they were already done with their preening and were already napping. They all had one eye on me just as I passed, but must be getting used to me as they didn’t fly off, or even raise their bills.pels

 

I continued on up the river taking my time as usual. The fish tracker boat passed by me as I went.

The slowed and started tracking just up ahead of me.

Here they are hard at it, tracking tagged fish and recording data for future analysis.biologists

 

I paddled almost up to the highway one bridge where I stopped in this spot. The mossy things are boards, likely from an old sawmill, over a hundred years ago. They look like the outer imperfect boards from the outside of the logs which they didn’t use in those days. They look like they threw them into the river instead of burning them as they mostly did in those days. There was a mill near this spot in Bridge Heaven in the old days.woodslab s

 

Estuary water might be changing

On the way up the estuary, I noticed the water on the river’s top was fresh and not salty like it’s been most of the summer. Something is causing the water to change, it seems. I’ll keep an eye on that and see what develops. I’m always checking the water on the surface for temperature and salt, by putting my finger in the water and tasting it. Works good and I always have this testing equipment with me.

Biologists have more tracking stations

I spied the biologists up on the bank doing something so I went over to see what they were doing. Looked like they were changing some batteries.tracking

 

Talking to them, it turned out that this is another tracking station that tracks the tagged fish if they come within range, like the one that I knew about at the visitor center.

I left them at it and started back down the river, which looked like this as I went.jenner

 

White pelicans

The pelicans were still at rest near the east end of Penny Island as I approached.jenner3

Above, you can see the bunch of white pelicans and way in the background, you can see barely see the visitor center in the town of Jenner.

But lining the pelicans up and using my zoom, the pelicans look like they are right in front of the visitor center. They are starting to wake up and move around a bit as they are noticing the water level is rising on them as the high tide is coming in.jenner2

 

Pelican’s bills

While I was watching them, I noticed something. Note the one on the far left. It’s stretching it’s bill. I hadn’t realized that the lower part of it’s bill actually expands making a hoop for their pouch.pelicanbill

 

You can see it again in this ones bill as it stretches it. They have interesting bills. When I see them fish, I can see that the bills are very sensitive to catch things under the water they can’t see.pelicanbills

 

Mooching seagulls

I decided to go in for the day, so I paddled around the pelicans where I ran into these seagulls. I’ve noticed before that the grey seagulls play the white ones. They pretend to be young birds wanting something to eat to get the white gulls to feed them. It must work sometimes as I see the grey gulls doing it a lot..seagulls

 

Swallowing a big fish

I paddled on over to the north side of the island where I saw this merganser duck splashing around a lot and doing this. It has caught a fish that is a little too large for it to swallow easily. You can see it’s neck has a large fish in it that it’s trying to get down. It finally did get it down after about five minutes of trying.merganser

 

I didn’t feel like paddling down to the river’s mouth today, but I thought I’d see how my new camera would do with a photo of the river’s mouth from the island, just across from the visitor center. Just as I started to take the photo some cormorants flew into the picture. The rivers mouth where the white waves are is about a half mile from where I’m taking the picture. The camera does a fantastic job, if you note that the weeds right in front of me and the ocean a half mile away are in fairly good focus. That’s taken with the 20x lens zoom. I’m starting to get use to this camera and liking it better.rivermouth

 

I went on home and took it easy the rest of the day, with a nap, then I was out in the yard chair hopping, until the sun went down.

The sunset from my chair in my yard.sunset

 

That’s it for another nice day.

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