The River Mouth Opens and Ray and I Walk At Swamp Rock

Tuesday February 3, 2015 Jenner CA.

I wasn’t sure how I would find the river condition this morning as I approached Jenner.Was the mouth open or closed? As I approached, it looked like the mouth had opened during the night as the water was down a few feet. Someone either did some shoveling of sand during the night or the high water just broke over the sand during the night and washed it open? I think the county was prepared to open it today, but they didn’t have to.

Headed towards the mouth

Anyway, I put my boat in the water and headed down towards the mouth to check things out. On the way down, I ran into this goose feeding in the tulles along the Penny Island shoreline.gooseeats

 

I could hear the ocean waves pounding on the sandy beach as I went.

And yes, the river’s mouth is open wide

As I neared the mouth area, I could see a yellow banana down that way which I knew must be Ray. We sat around here and watched things for quite some time.ray

 

It appears lots of steelhead are coming into the river to spawn

Since Ray got down that way before I did, he said he had seen three steelhead being eaten by the seals and the sea lions and while we watched we saw at least a couple more being eaten. They moved too fast for me to get any pictures of the fish being eaten, but here is one of the sea lions on the hunt in the river’s mouth.sealion

 

Ray also said he saw a bald headed eagle sitting on a stump down there when he arrived. I asked him where his camera was? Lots of critters arrive to share in the big fish when they come into the river.

We watched  as big waves broke over the jetty.mouth

 

There were lots of seagulls flying around at times around the mouth area.birds

 

Cormorants and the smolt

We paddled on down to the end of the river, just past the open mouth.
These cormorants were resting on this rock. I believe February 1 is the date the hatcheries start to release steelhead and salmon smolt into the river, so the cormorant population should increase dramatically when the smolt get down to the estuary. The smolt are six to twelve inches long or so. Since I won’t be here for that, I asked Ray to let me know when the cormorants increase, if they do.cormorants

 

 

We watched as this sea lion devoured a big fish, but too fast for the camera to catch. They only come to the surface briefly and one never knows where they will surface next.lion

 

From what we saw today, it looked like a mess of steelhead entered the river to begin their journey to spawn on up the river.

There were a bunch of harbor seals resting on the sandy beach across from us. Here are a few of them.seals

 

Seagulls appear to be feeding on something

The seagulls were doing something here just inside the open mouth. I couldn’t tell for sure, but it seems they were feeding on something in the water.seagulls

 

Headed up the back channel

Ray and I left the mouth area and slowly worked our way up the Penny Island back channel, which we are just entering here.channel

 

Seagulls picking up fish scraps

We watched as some seagulls dove into the water near the other end of the island. It seems some seals had eaten a big fish in this area a short time ago and had left a bunch of little fish pieces in the water and the seagulls had just found them.seagullfish

 

We headed to Swamp Rock for a little walk

We wanted to go for a little walk, so we looked for a place to put ashore that wasn’t’ too muddy. We found a place at Swamp Rock. It was a little muddy, but not too bad. We headed on up the river on Poison Oak Alley trail to the Eagle’s landing area.

Bald headed eagle

As we approached Eagle’s landing I wasn’t paying attention and a bald headed eagle flew out of one of the big trees over my head and crossed over the river and flew up near the ridge top where these two horses hang out. It flew on up the river and we didn’t see it again.eagle

 

We are headed back down the trail in this picture with the town of Jenner in the back ground.jenner

 

Ray is checking something out in this patch of horse tail grass, which is also full of freshly budding poison oak.ray2

 

We got back in our boats and headed on in for the day. I stopped at the grocery store to get some things for my trip, on the way home.

Prepping the van

When I got home, I moved the van out so I could get under it and grease it and check the tires and fluids and batteries.

Then I loaded my boat on top and put some more stuff in the van. Washed the windows so I’d be able to see and applied RainX to the windshield as the old wipers aren’t too good and I expect a lot of rain on this trip. And that was about it for the day. Another nice one.

I’m planning to leave for Oregon tomorrow in the morning sometime. I plan to stop near the Winchuck River just over the California boarder to kayak and camp for the night. Kayaking will depend on the rain conditions.

I should be able to post in a couple days when I get to Brookings, OR. where I may do a little shopping?

From there I will continue on up to the Port Orford area and meet up with Steve who has been fishing up there for about a month now.

Lots of rain is expected which will bring the big fish in, so Steve will be happy. I’ll be exploring around in the area and hope to get some pics of some big fish being caught by the fishermen in that area.

I have a few more things to get together tonight and then I’ll be set to go.

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