Wednesday October 16, 2013 Jenner CA.
Salmon are coming in the open river’s mouth
It seemed like a good day to go down to Jenner and see if the river’s mouth blew wide open last night and see if I could see any salmon coming into the river to start the spawning process.
As I approached Jenner, I could see the estuary was down, so it looked like the mouth blew wide open during the night.
I went on down to the river’s mouth overlook, just north of Jenner on highway one. There was a biologist lady there that I met yesterday, her specialty is seals.
This is what the mouth looks like when it really blows open
When the excavator breaches the sand bar, it opens a little channel to the ocean and water starts to flow a bit. But as the ocean tide goes to a low, the ocean water level is much lower then the river water level and the sand can start to flow like the water. When it flows enough, it all starts to wash out to this wide open state, usually sometime in the night.
Most people go home too early for the good stuff
Most people watch the excavator breach the sand bar and are a bit disappointed that there isn’t a big wash out and go on home. But……….the best time to view things is after the mouth really blows out to wide open which most of them miss.
A biologist gets her wish
I was hoping the biologist would be there today, because yesterday she kiddingly asked me if I could mark all the seals that stayed mostly in the river and I got a big grin on my face imagining trying to mark a fast moving seal. But after I left the overlook area and was out kayaking, I realized I already had marked those seals and they were pictured in this blog.
Ha, all she had to do is look at my blog for seals in the river during when the mouth was closed and she’d have most of those seals. and the seals resting on the logs up the river at Seal Heaven also fell into that category.
So I told her about this and we’ll see how she does with that?
From there I went on back to the Jenner launch ramp and put my boat in the water and headed across to Penny Island and on up the south side of the river. I was really taking my time hoping to see some seals eating salmon.
I stopped at otter’s log for awhile and a hunting seal came by me. Their posture during a big fish hunt is different. It went on by and I continued on up to Eagle’s landing where I watched for awhile .
I did note that there are even more coots on the water today, then yesterday. I think they eat all the dead vegetation under the water at this time of year.
It was getting later in the day, so I headed on down the river as I wanted to check out the mouth area from my boat. As I approached the east end of Penny Island, there was a lot of splashing and some seagulls where diving in the water.
Salmon on, a seal has one
A seal had a freshly caught salmon it was trying to devour, while keeping it away from other seals.
It’s not easy to get pictures of this action as the seals come to the surface just for a bit and you don’t’ know for sure where they may surface next, so you point and wait and shoot. If I see something of interest to shoot, by the time I push the picture taking button, it’s gone under water, so I miss a lot. So, I shoot a lot and hope I got something and don’t’ know until I look at this stuff on my computer. Sometimes nothing comes out.
I watched until the seal left the area and then I went on down to the river’s mouth area.
As I passed those seals and headed to the mouth, a whole bunch of seagulls caught my attention. Another seal had a salmon and was trying to eat it. I tried, but failed to get a picture of this seal and fish.
I sat around in my kayak at the mouth area for about an hour looking around, but didn’t see any more fish caught,but some of the seals were hunting just the same. I shot the bull with a couple people I knew that were in the area during this time.
From there I worked my way on back to the visitor’s center launch area.
Before I got there I could see a lot of splashing just in front of the center and some seagulls diving for scraps too. I paddled a bit faster to get there to see what was happening and tried to get a photo of this action. The seal surfaced right in front of me for just a second showing the big fish, but I wasn’t fast enough. It saw me and vanished.
I saw three salmon getting eaten by seals today and I’m sure a lot more were eaten then that.
I pulled my boat out of the water just after five PM and went on home a little on the tired out side, so a nap was in order.
Jenner was nice an warm today a light warm wind and the sun was out too.
Nice day at Jenner.