White Pelicans, Cormorants and Terns, Fishing Away in the Russian River Estuary

Monday July 21, 2014 Jenner CA.

The fish tracking biologists

As I put my boat in the water at Jenner today, I could see the fish tracking biologists slowly headed my way tracking fish. I parked the car and headed on over their way. At the speed they go to track fish, I can keep up with them so I get a chance to talk a bit. Bill and Brian, where in the boat tracking steelhead fish.

One of the questions I asked was, do the fish leave the tracking area in front of the visitor center at night, as there are two trackers out there that track any fish that come into range twenty four hours a day. Bill says the fish mostly just come and go, but don’t leave the area for the night. That’s of interest to me as I’m trying to figure out why I don’t see any fish in the lumens some nights and other nights, I see them all over the estuary.

  Later, when I saw them, I asked if the fish tend to follow the tides in and out, knowing he may not have this information yet, as I knew he had a lot of data, but needed some time to figure it all out. He said, looking at the temperature of he water the fish swim in, that they are tracking, they might move with it some, but he needed to look at the data more. He said he’d let me know.

The fish tracking biologists tracking steelhead fish as I approached.bioboat

 

I exchanged a bit of info with them and then left them tracking up the river, while I went over to check out the white pelicans I saw fishing down near the west end of Penny Island. It looked like the white pelicans were doing a lot of fishing in the estuary today.

These white pelicans were fishing away as I approached them.pelicans2

 

They lift their wings a bit when fishing, maybe for balance? With all those feathers, they likely need to vent to keep cool sometimes too.

I left these guys fishing away as I turned and headed back up the river, along the north shore of Penny Island.pelicans

 

I passed this family of Merganser ducks resting on a log, near the east end of Penny Island.mergansers

 

White Pelicans rest

While I paddled slowly on up the river, the white pelicans I was watching earlier flew by me and landed on the shoreline with a bunch of cormorants, just below Paddy’s rock to take a break.birds

 

And as I approached Eagle’s Landing, a Great Blue Heron landed in a big fir tree on a limb that just barely would support it. It flapped it’s wings several times as the wind tried to blow it off, but finally was able to balance on the limb and settle down.heron

 

There really wasn’t much wind today, mostly just a breeze, with the sun out too. I continued paddling up the river to Dead Deer Gulch where I stopped and spent some time, before the White Pelicans drew me back down the river.

I sat here for a spell at Dead Deer Gulch, looking down the river towards the town of Jenner.riverview

 

Some serious fishing going on

As I was sitting there, I noticed all the White Pelican’s that were resting on the opposite shore, flew into the air and dived down to a spot along the shoreline ahead of me. The cormorants and great blue herons and egrets also headed for that area. For some reason, the spot had turned into a hot fishing area.

See all the birds fishing away in the hot spot.feedingbirds

 

I quickly paddled down closer to them watching to try to see what they were eating, but couldn’t tell. The birds slowly moved on down the river fishing as they went. I followed them watching and trying to get some good photos.

The great blue herons followed along too. They followed but didn’t seem to be getting any of the fish. herons

 

I watched until the fishing stopped and the pelicans went back over by Paddy’s rock to rest on the shoreline.

Little buddy birds

I was headed down the river when I saw these little sand pipers on this log, all lined up for a photo.pipers

 

More hot fishing for the birds

I was paddling down the north side of Penny Island when the pelicans flew over my head and landed and started fishing in front of me. I followed them on down to almost the west end of Penny Island.There was a lot of fishing going on, with the cormorants and terns joining in some of the time.

These are the pelicans I followed. There are also some cormorants in the water fishing with them and also some terns in the air, which were diving out of he sky on some of the fish. Lots of action as I watched.feedingbirds2

 

A closer look at the fishing white pelicans and cormorants.pelicans3

 

I followed them almost to the west end of Penny Island where they stopped and turned to sneak by me by the shore which they are doing in this picture.pelicans4

 

Mapping the bed rock under the sand

I left them as I saw something going on over on the sandy beach by the jetty. rockguys

 

I approached and asked what it is they were measuring? I could see they had some wires laid out and a blue tent with some guys in it looking at something.

Turned out they were measuring how deep the bed rock was under the sand and mapping it, around the jetty area.

River’s mouth is open deep

I left them to it and continued on down to the river’s mouth area. Some harbor seals where resting in the water on the sand that the ocean had pushed into the mouth area as I passed by.seals

 

It was low tide, as I looked out the river’s mouth into the Pacific ocean, with a couple brown pelican’s headed out to sea.rivermouth

 

A hot day for Jenner

The sun was out and I was getting hot, which doesn’t happen often while kayaking around here. I had to take off a couple layers to stay cool and while I was doing that, I saw John, they guy who picks up trash in the area, approaching in his kayak.

We shot the bull in front of the mouth for a bit, then we headed back up the the west end of Penny Island were some terns were resting on the gravel there.terns

 

The Pelicans are still fishing away

John followed me back up to the east end of Penny Island we watched the white pelicans fishing some more.

The fish tracking biologists came back from up river and were headed in for the day, with me not too far behind them, headed to the boat ramp.

I let them get their boat out of the water, then took my boat out and went on home for a nap.

After the nap, I moved some redwood mulch to my blueberry patch and mostly just sat around enjoying the evening for another nice day.

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