This morning I took my son-in-law paddling on the Russian River Estuary in fine winter weather. We saw the pair of Bald Eagles who are often there.
It’s good to have binoculars when kayaking.
We saw Harbor Seals, Sea Lions, Cormorants, a Great Blue Heron, a few Mallards, flocks of Buffleheads, and a half dozen Mergansers.
We visited with Bob Noble, the only other paddler we saw. More at Bob at Bob’s Eyes.
The mouth of the river is open.
Waqqas enjoyed his first paddle.
Estero Americano is a garland of lakes extending four and a half miles from Valley Ford to the Pacific.
A paddler can beeline directly north from the launch and avoid paddling in the channel.
The leisurely trip out to the ocean took me an hour and a quarter.
Fish-eating creatures—River Otters, Herons, Egrets, Cormorants—were scarce. Lots of muddy water made hiding from predators easier for fish.
Times are good for those who eat gophers and mice, many of whom were flooded out of their houses..
Barney Barn Owl, content as ever.
The Estero Americano is over its banks.
Tomorrow’s forecast is calling for the rain to stop.
It’s hard to say if there is enough rain and runoff still to come this evening to make the Estero overflow the sand dam at the mouth.
Launch Ramp December 15, 2016
We shall see.
We can hope that the Estero will just keep filling up and up—without breaking itself open and running into the Pacific.
When the Estero is brimming and about to overflow it resembles a five-mile long chain of lakes that end at Bodega Bay.
Looking Northward at Vally Ford/Franklin School Bridge
Many coastal winter residents were in the Russian River Estuary yesterday. Not people—birds. Diving birds.
No other boats in the lower Russian River Estuary
Diving birds can be difficult to photograph.They seem to sense when they’re being framed for a photo. They regularly disappear underwater with little or no warning.
Coots and Bufflehead ducks are gregarious diving birds who like to gather in groups of varying size.
Buffleheads. Males have the big white helmet; females the modest white ear patch.
Grebes don’t flock like Buffleheads. They seem to prefer small groups or pairs.
A solitary Loon near Penny Island.
A brown Russian River is rushing into the Pacific. From the Highway One overlook at Jenner the river’s waters are turning the normally clear blue Pacific an opaque brown for about a mile out to sea.
That brown water signals the steelhead to swim upstream. The steelhead in turn, attract others.
A Bald Eagle stood for a time on Haystack Rock at the mouth. Here is a closer look:
Many seals swam near the mouth.
More trash than usual is washing downstream. Among the usual alcohol and energy-drink bottles, tennis balls and beach toys, was this inflatable dolphin-shaped pool toy.