Poison Oak Alley Walk and a Dead Great Blue Heron

Monday July 28, 2014 Jenner CA.

Another nice day paddling around on the Russian River Estuary

I arrived at Jenner this morning to an overcast day, but the wind was down and the temperature was just right. Have I ever mentioned that we don’t have any bug problems around year? :O)

I saw Ray’s truck in the parking lot. It was coming onto high tide, so I headed down towards the river’s mouth. As expected Ray was down there sitting in his boat in front of the river’s mouth, taking it easy.

The river’s mouth was open, but the sand is starting to pile up on the right side a bit, which may or may not indicate the mouth might close soon?

The mouth looks closed from this angle, but the water is going back behind and around the sand on the right. The water is coming into the river as we are approaching high tide and we have to work a bit to keep the current from taking us up the river with the water.rivermouth2

 

A harbor seal pup?

There were the usual harbor seals resting on the beach.

This one caught my eye. It looks like a pup, as it is quite a bit smaller than the others. Maybe a late one, as most of them are born earlier in the spring.babyseal

 

This flock of cormorants was also resting there on the sand.cormorants

 

And a family of merganser ducks were fishing in front of me while I sat there in my boat.mergansers

 

Some more of the harbor seals resting there on the sand in front of the jetty.harborseals

 

Headed back up the river

Ray and I hung around the mouth area for a couple of hours or so, then started back up to Penny Island. These two seals were resting in the water on a submerged redwood log as we went by.seals

 

Birds resting on Penny Island

There on the west end of Penny Island was a small flock of white pelicans resting and preening.pelicans

 

We decided to go up the back channel of Penny Island and go to shore for a walk on the east end, so we headed on over to the back channel.

Squawking terns

These terns were flying around squawking away about something. They seem to communicate with load screeches that sound very annoying, but seem to do the job for them. There seems to be a lot of terns feeding here right now.

This is the first time I’ve seen them here at this time of the year. They usually just come by for a bit during the fall migration. Fishing must be good in the estuary for them to be here.terns

 

Here’s a close up of some of the terns resting on the shore as we passed on by.terns2

 

Not going for a walk on Penny Island

As we approached the east end of Penny Island, a bunch of people just landed before us and were quite noisy, so we decided to pass on the walk on the island and continue on up to swamp rock trail and go for a walk there as it seemed a bit more peaceful than the island.

Walking Poison Oak Alley Trail

We put ashore here and started walking the poison oak alley trail that goes along the shoreline, up to eagle’s landing about a third of a mile up the river or so.jenner

 

Here’s Ray walking along the trail, dodging berry vines and stickers. We don’t catch poison oak, so that isn’t a worry for us, but we do avoid it when we can, just the same. It’s very hard to avoid on this trail, that’s why the name.ray

 

We were about three quarters of the way to eagle’s landing when we started to see these gray feathers on the trail, like something was dragging a great blue heron along the trail, like maybe a Bobcat?feathers

 

Some animal was dragging along a dead great blue heron, losing feathers as it dragged it on the ground and leaving a trail of them. Several places it stopped and went off the main trail and left a pile of feathers, like it ate some of it, then continued on up the main trail.

One of those places it went off the trail to eat, we found one of the great blue herons wings, Likely only a few days or so old.

Here is the wing we found.wing

 

We followed the feather trail all the way to eagle’s landing, where the animal took what was left of the bird on up the hill, which I did not follow.

After a short rest at eagle’s landing Ray and I started back down the trail, keeping an eye on where the great blue heron lost it’s life.

Here is Ray headed back down the trail, looking towards the town of Jenner.jenner2

 

Just past this spot, I found were the animal had brought the great blue heron up from the river’s shore line, likely were the bird was fishing away and eating things and got eaten itself. Such is the way on the river.

We got back in our boats and slowly worked our way back to the boat ramp around three PM and called it a day.

I went on home and mostly napped and enjoyed the yard a bit and that was it for another nice day.

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