We were back on the Noyo River this year for the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. The Mendocino Coast Audubon counts on us to count the Noyo River's colony of Black-crowned Night- Herons for the Fort Bragg Count.
The weather forecast was dismal - rain and the Noyo River was flowing at a quick 1800cfs. It turned out to be a beautiful day with lots of sun and a few rain and hail showers. Jeff and I got a good work-out as we paddled up river into the current. We ferried and used eddies as much as possible but still took some paddle power to attain up the river. We made it about a mile up river from Dolphin Isle before turning around and going with the flow downstream.
Geoff from Ukiah joined us again as a birder and tally person. It is great to have a dedicated tally person as we sometimes can't put our paddles down to identify birds with our binoculars and tally who we are seeing.
We cruised with the current back to Dolphin Isle and then down into the Noyo Harbor where we enjoyed quite a hail storm as well as the Noyo Harbor Christmas Tree.
We dropped Geoff off at the harbor to connect with others about the possibility of a pelagic trip, but before we returned to LFK headquarters at Dolphin Isle, we stopped by the boat basin to see if we could find any more species. We didn't add any additional bird species to our list but stopped for a moment to admire the California Sea Lions basking on the docks.
On our way back to Dolphin Isle, we did add an additional species to our list - one our our favorites, the Snowy Egret.
Overall, it was a great day birding by kayak. We didn't see or hear as many birds as usual due to the stormy weather but we accomplished our main goal of counting the Night-Herons. We also got 2 other species that no one else saw - a flock of Green-winged Teals and a female Wood Duck. We don't commonly see Wood Ducks on the lower part of the Noyo so this was a surprise. Hopefully she is enjoying the estuary and decides to take up residency.