Vultures, Pelicans, Biologists, Geese, a Hawk and a Tunnel

Wednesday September 30, 2015 Jenner CA.

I headed off to kayak Jenner this morning. A big school bus pulled in right before me, so I sneaked in to the boat ramp just before they took it over. Some science kids where going for a kayak and science lesson as they do this time every year. I’ve learned to try and avoid them.

What are the vultures eating

I paddled on down towards the rivers mouth area and these turkey vultures caught my eye, so I went over to see what they were feasting on.vultures2

 

Dead deer

As I approached to see what they were eating, most of them flew away, but this young one that I think may be the one from the nest this summer flew in just after the others left. It’s head is blacker, but it’s starting to change to red, so I may not be able to recognize it much longer. Even though it flew in, it’s pecking order is low and the other one wasn’t going to let it eat just yet. The deer likely got hit by a car up on the highway above. Most dead deer found on the river are hit by cars up on the road that goes along the river. I bet if one counted the number of deer hit by cars this way, the number would be pretty big.vulture

 

Closed river’s mouth

From there, I paddled on over to the closed river’s mouth at this point and looked out into the Pacific ocean where I could see a bunch of cormorants hunting out there. This sand is the only thing holding all the water up back in the river where I am.cormorants2

 

There were a bunch of brown pelicans preening there too. Here’s a few of them and a couple of seagulls.pelicans

 

Data collectors

I hung around and watched things there for quite some time, then left to head up the river passing by Jeff and Celeste who are doing maintenance and getting the data from the sensors attached to this buoy. I chatted with them for a bit before continuing on.jeff

 

With the water backed up in the river, I checked to see if I could paddle onto the end of Penny Island yet. It looked like this and I was able to paddle into the grass here to enter the island.island

 

Once into the island, it looks like this looking over towards the town of Jenner.island2

 

I stayed on the island for a bit, then headed on up the river crossing over to the north side, just below Paddy’s rock where I was checking out these geese and ducks.birds

 

Frustrated hawk

I saw this bird flutter and dive, but not being effective. I also noticed the mud hens are coming back for the fall to eat the dead grasses which grow under the water and are dead now. They really seem to like these underwater dead grasses and come here this time of year to eat them up. There will be more soon, hundreds of them usually.hawk3

 

Anyway, the hawk landed and was eyeing all the birds just in front of it.hawk2

 

But all the ducks where just ignoring it.  They even had their heads under their wings if you look closely. Maybe that’s their defensive position to keep the hawk from taking off their heads as it would be harder to attack the ducks body.

I’m not sure why, maybe a young one or too small a hawk to take down a duck. You can see the hawk in the tree just behind these mallards.hawkducks

 

I watched the hawk unsuccessfully dive, but not attack several times before it flow off.

From there I paddled across the river to the other side and stopped at the muskrat area for a bit before starting back down the river.

David’s working away doing something

I could see David doing some kind of measuring from his boat. I could see he was really concentrating on what he was doing and was real busy so I waited until he was done with that part before approaching him.david

It turned out he was measuring what I think he called the hemolayer, but not real sure about he word.

He explained he was measuring the layer that separates the fresh water layer on top of the salt water layer on the bottom. Apparently there is a layer between them I hadn’t heard about so I was real interested.  He said it had just moved down a couple feet from where he had measured it before.

I talked with him for quite some time explaining some things I knew about the estuary and he filled me in on some things and we both learned a lot from each other.

David works for the Bodega Marine Labs and does measurements here often. He headed on up the river to do some more measuring.

Different geese

I saw some more birds across the river, so I paddled on over to check them out. This mallard duck and these geese were what I was checking out.These geese seem to be different than the others I saw earlier. The others I think are Canadian geese, but I have no idea what these ones are.duckgeese

 

A tunnel

I was paddling back in for the day when I went by this tunnel which goes under the highway, so I thought I better paddle into it and check it out which I did. I like to make some noises in them to see if I can hit resonance. Resonance seems to be hit about one quarter and three quarters into  tunnels or bridges. That’s where whatever noise is made is amplified and sounds the loudest.tunnel

 

Estuaries’ water level

I checked the water gauge at the visitor center as I got ready to take my boat out at the boat ramp. The water level here is about 6 and a half feet. They usually don’t breech the closed river’s mouth until this gauge reaches about nine feet. But there are salmon out in the ocean that need to come into the river right now to start their spawning, so we’ll see if they will wait that long.gauge

It seems to me that there is a conflict with the river’s mouth being closed this time of year as the fish are starting to come into the river to spawn which is hard to do when the mouth is closed up. Some can still come over the sand dam at higher tides, especially if the ocean is rough at the same time which causes ocean water to spill into the river over the sand,  even in closed mouth conditions.

I couldn’t write my blog

I took my boat out and went on home with intentions of doing a few things. But I couldn’t get it going and the harder I tried the more my head seemed to hurt, so I didn’t get this blog written until tonight as all I felt like doing was going to bed so I did.

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