Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Noyo's Odd Duck

Dolphin Isle on the Noyo River of Fort Bragg, California has become home to a male harlequin duck. We enjoy seeing him daily and admire his handsomeness but can't help to think that he is a bit odd.Over the past 3 years, this harlequin has delighted and baffled us. Typically harlequin ducks like turbulent waters not flat water estuaries like the Noyo River. Harlequins typically are solitary birds or hang with just a few of their species. This harlequin is quite gregarious with other ducks. He flocks with the buffleheads in the winter and the mallards the rest of the year.

He doesn't appear to have a mate. In previous years, we had hoped that he would convince a female to return to the Noyo with him. However, last year he only migrated for a short period of time, and this year he did not migrate. Here's a photo of him this summer on the Noyo in eclipse plumage.

Odd or not, we enjoy his colorful presence on the Noyo River.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tail of a Noyo Harbor Cat

Felis catus noyo - subspecies of domestic cats specific to the Noyo Harbor of Fort Bragg, California. These cats generally have black and white or gray and white "tuxedo" markings and reside along Fort Bragg's Noyo River. It is common to see them in the Noyo Harbor around the fisheries, but some appear to have migrated into the town of Fort Bragg and up the river. Several are regularly sighted in the vicinity of the river otters' dens and shoreline tunnels. It is theorized that they have a symbiotic relationship with the river otters of the Noyo River.

Today, my friend Amy and I were kayaking up the Noyo River and discovered a Noyo Harbor Cat stranded on a log in the river. She was damp and shivering uncomfortably on the log. We figured that she must have lost her balance and fell down the steep bank.

The tide was rising and her log was soon to be submersed so we decided to attempt a rescue. We paddled next to her log and with the guidance of my paddle (I didn't want to risk her putting holes in my drytop) coaxed her onto the deck of our kayak.

She cooperatively sat there while we paddled her to shore landing her on the bank (hopefully on the side with her home).

God speed kitty and be careful around steep river banks.