Friday, May 4, 2012

Elkhorn Slough

We have talked about a wildlife adventure to Elkhorn Slough for quite a while but it took Ray and Gloria Bell to get us off the dime.  They arranged to get us, Norm and Edie Van Woerkom, Ray Anderson and Karen Wade to go with them in the middle of April.  It turned out to be a gorgeous day and just perfect for our wildlife tour.  Sad, though... .Ray Bell didn't get to go with us because of a lingering cold.  So in honor of Ray, we will post these pictures and let him know to look at them.

So where is Elkhorn Slough?  Perhaps this picture of the electrical generating plant at Moss Landing between Watsonville and Castroville will help you remember.

What a great day for a safari.  We layered on the clothing just in case was too cool but you can tell we had to remove a layer as we got in the boat.  So here is Gloria, Karen, Julie and Ray.

And here is Norm helping Edie get her jacket off

Cormorants on the dock at Moss Landing Harbor

This area is not just for boaters but there are some serious photographers who come here as well.

Much like Pier 39 in San Francisco, some California Sea Lions hang out here.

Here is a lone cormorant on a piling.  When these birds get in the water, about all you can see is their necks sticking  out like periscopes.

A pair of flying cormorants.  They have weirdly crooked necks.

Sea otters always look so playful; floating on their backs with their feet out of the water.  It warms up their extremities.  Notice the red tag on his hind flippers.  He has been marked for tracking purposes.

A bunch of terns on the poles of a now-defunct salt evaporation area

This tern is getting ready for flight

No, this is not a sea lion.  It's a harbor seal (short front flippers)

A seal pup with his mother.

Like they were posing for us.

Notice his white whiskers

White pelicans

Sand pipers

Canada goose

I don't know what the next two birds are (couldn't remember everything we saw that day).

Avocets.  Beautiful colors

Why are we smiling so broadly.

After a fun day meandering around in the slough, we went to lunch at the Fish Market in Moss Landing.

We asked about renting kayaks for a more personal tour.  OK going out in the morning but be careful.  The on-shore wind picks up later in the day making is tough to paddle back to the harbor.  Maybe taking an electric trolling motor along would help on the return trip.

Thank you Ray and Gloria for planning this great trip with good friends.