Posted by: atowhee | October 7, 2021


This was late afternoon near the mouth of the Russian River, a mouth now clogged by sand. This is about half of the Brown Pelicans there, over 300 birds plus hundreds of nearby gulls. It’s across the Russian River from town of Jenner at north end of Goat Rock Road. The river did not actually flow to the sea, dammed by a tall sand spit, permeable to water from sea and stream alike.

The location of the two loafing flocks, unsettled and churning, were behind sand dunes that protected them from the intense and chilly wind, calorie saving.

*”Pelican Pandemonium” will be henceforth referred to as “Pelimonium.” And it is that churning, diving (by the brownies only) and pouch-packing behavior of these energetic fishers.


Is any other bird as clever, adept, aerial acrobatic, self-assured, game-loving, thrill-seeking and generally athletic as the raven? Today the wind was blowing thirty miles per hour or more when we reached the mouth of the Russian River. There a pair of ravens performed. For themselves. My presence and audience status meant nothing to them. It was supreme corvid wind surfing. They, like vultures and red-tails, hung in the wind, head on. It was as if they were suspended on invisible strings from clouds above. Then, with adjustment of wings and tail, each could drop slowly down an unseen elevator. The long wings were extended. Each fingerly feather on each wing tip was splayed open. The tail was fanned wide. Legs hung low with all four toes spread apart. Each raven rode the air, the wind making a fluffng sound as it beat against the birds’ feathers. We left them perched on the rocks, discussing what was next before bed-time.

Goat Rock Rd., Sonoma, California, US
Oct 7, 2021
13 species

Heermann’s Gull  X
Western Gull  X
California Gull  X
Glaucous-winged Gull  X
Brandt’s Cormorant  X
Pelagic Cormorant  X
Double-crested Cormorant  X
Brown Pelican  300
Turkey Vulture  X
Osprey  1
Black Phoebe  1
Common Raven  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  X

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