Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sea World Fort Bragg

Often people will compare one of our Mendocino Coast kayaking experiences to Disneyland. Lately Sea World has been the comparison. The herring and sardines are running on the Noyo River, and we are enjoying spectacular wildlife displays. Our visitors are also enjoying an escape from the fog as our Noyo River location is outside of the fog belt. This afternoon, we enjoyed a journey up the river wearing t-shirts.
Both the harbor seals and sea lions have been actively schooling fish on the river. It is pretty awesome to see the sea lions as they porpoise about in the river chasing the fish. The harbor seals are a bit more subdued by equally enjoyable. Jeff and I enjoyed our dinner one evening on the deck watching the show. Here the team from Visit Mendocino County checking out the wildlife from our deck.

Yesterday, the osprey who likes to perch in the Eucalyptus by our deck was 3 for 3 in diving for fish. I saw a different osprey snatch 2 fish from the river in one dive. This evening, a juvenile loon was enjoying some fishing time on the river. The great egrets must have heard about the plethora of fish on the Noyo as they have shown up this week. Jeff saw 4 of them this afternoon on the river.

The merganser ducklings are growing fast and the older set is just about the same size as their mother. We have several sets of late mallard ducklings that are so cute and fuzzy. The new gull chicks are starting to stretch out their wings, and we expect them to be fledging soon. It is amazing how fast they grow and develop, but they are still so far from reaching adulthood.

My odd duck - the harlequin- continues to hang around. We suspect that he is an old bird who has enjoyed wintering on the Noyo and now has selected it as his retirement community. Birders and wildlife enthusiasts continue to enjoy his presence. The mallard drakes don't appear to mind his company either.

Our otters continue to be on the shy side. I regularly see them but they are elusive to many of our guests. Perhaps they have gotten to know me and pop up to say hi but are still wary of many people as a survival skill from years ago when they were hunted. Did you know that a group of otters is called a romp? Seems fitting.

The new born fawns have not been shy and seem quite curious about us as we quietly float by.

It has been really fun to share these wildlife experiences with all ages and many first time paddlers. Kayaking has its roots in hunting wildlife, today we are using it as a vehicle to appreciate it.

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