The Salmon Are Running, Some Getting Eaten by Harbor Seals and More Eagles

Monday October 5, 2015 Jenner CA.

It looked like it was going to be a nice day when I got it going this morning, so off I went to Jenner to kayak for the day. With the salmon starting to run and bald headed eagles around, I was eager to see what the day would bring.

I put my boat in the water and started paddling across the river when I heard, hi Bob. It was Mary in her kayak, so I stopped to chat with her for a bit telling her to keep an eye out for lone seagulls sitting in the water which might indicate a seal has a big fish and is eating it. I left her and started paddling across to Penny Island where this little pie billed grebe paddled by me rather close, about four feet from me.grebe

 

Harbor seals devouring fish

I started down the side of the island headed down river when I spotted one of those seagulls sitting on the water, so I watched.

Eventually some seals popped up with a big fish, likely a salmon as they are running up the river to spawn right now.sealbird

 

I watched as the seals worked on devouring the fish.sealfish

 

There were about five seals working on that fish and this one seagull was helping out.fishseal

 

Eventually the seals ate enough of the fish to reduce it to the tail section, about a foot of the fish which they try to swallow like this, popping their heads up and down trying to get the tail section to go down. It’s not easy and it takes some time.seal

 

Bald headed eagle

After that fish was disposed of, I started down the side of the Island and didn’t get far when I realized this bald headed eagle was sitting on this stick not far from where I was watching the seals eat fish.eagle3

 

While I was watching the eagle did this little dance.eagle2

 

Later I found out why the eagle was waiting on that stick, but for now, I headed on down to my spot in the open river’s mouth here. Lots of harbor seals and birds on the opposite shoreline.

mouth

 

The brown pelicans were splashing around as usual.pelicans

 

I moved on past the mouth to the end of the river where I went past this black harbor seal. It looks like it just got it’s new coat.blackseal

 

Mary paddled on up to me while I was in the mouth and we shot the bull for a good while. Actually, I was mostly filling her in on a lot of stuff about how the estuary works which she was real interested in.

She took off with her hubby and I started heading back up he river.

Turkey Vultures wait

As I approached the spot where the eagle had been I found all these turkey vultures instead. As I paddled closer, I saw some more big birds on the gravel to the right of these birds and it looked like one of them was that bald headed eagle that was on the stick earlier.vultures

 

The eagle is boss and all the other birds must wait their turn if they want to get something to eat, so the vultures waited patiently. I’m not sure what the eagle was eating, but it was standing on it.eagle5

 

My boat was drifting closer to the big bird by the second so I had to sit still so as not to spook it. I got to about fifteen feet of it and hit the shore with my boat and it didn’t fly off as it was more interested in eating. After about five minutes, it clutched what it was eating in it’s talons and took off headed on up the river. The vultures took off too, but didn’t follow the eagle.

Stopped at Ray’s house

On the way home I stopped at Ray’s house which is down the road a mile or so from my house as he wanted me to check out what the water agency had been doing to Fife creek to prevent future flooding of the houses in his neighborhood. The creek runs down behind his house.

We walked down the creek checking out what the guys had done to improve water flow in the creek.

Here’s the creek we walked down which has been just recently cleaned out.creek

 

Ray said there was a meeting at 5:30 by the water agency for the neighbors by his house. Luckily, just before I was going to leave, his neighbor informed him he was wrong and the meeting was at four thirty and I should attend so I went home and came back just before four thirty to see what the agency people had to say.

They explained what and why they did what they did and heard suggestions of things that still needed to be done that neighbors were concerned about. They seemed to be receptive and the meeting went well.

I went on home after that and pretty much just sat around for the rest of the day, not getting some things done I had intended to do.

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