Friday, September 21, 2012

Biggest Bird Ever

The crew aboard the Elkhorn Slough Safari logged the biggest bird ever sighted when the U.S. Space Shuttle Endeavour did a fly by over the slough and Moss Landing. At about 10:50am this morning, the oversized bird was identified by all passengers on board. The escort jet plus 747 with the space shuttle attached was captured on camera by passenger Paul Romero who let us post his photo here on the blog.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Vows with the Captain

June is a month full of weddings and anniversaries. Our Captain can officiate at your wedding or renew your vows. He specializes in small, intimate weddings. He has married couples on Elkhorn Slough aboard the Safari boat, on the back deck at Captain's Inn, and at the beach. We can help with vows, especially seaside, nautical ones. We also have a great flower shop and affordable cake lady.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Spring on the Slough

There are all sorts of nesting and breeding birds out on Elkhorn Slough this time of year. This mating American Avocet pair is no exception. It is easy to compare a defining characteristic between the male and female in the photo, the female is described as having a more pronouced upward curving beak. These elegant colored birds slide their bills through the soft mud and capture worms or small shrimp that they find by taste. Thanks to passenger Franz Carver for sharing his photo captured while out on Elkhorn Slough Safari this month.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Specialty Cruises

Each season we offer focused tours on topics of interest to our passengers. This Spring we are offering a tour on marine mammal babies, on birding, and photography. The birding cruise is good for beginners to professionals. Beginners will learn the difference between this Snowy egret and the Great egret, but professionals will sort out the confusing details of the peeps and gulls. The bird specialty tour will spend extra time with nesting species such as the egrets, gulls, and cormorants. Check out the website to get dates and time for these classes and for regular tours.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bird Count

Each year we donate the use of the Elkhorn Slough Safari boat to an important wildlife assessment: the annual Christmas bird count. Actually held on New Year's day for the Moss Landing area, this count tracks number of birds and lists all the bird species sighted and heard. Hundreds of volunteers take on each area count. Our Elkhorn Slough - Moss Landing area is often one of the top in the nation! Here is Captain Yohn and the Audubon Society counter volunteers while surveying for the bird count. The Moss Landing area reported at least 199 species.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Otter Treats

Look, we sighted a new sea otter mother and pup pair. This pair was scurrying about collecting candy all over the Moss Landing neighborhood. Moss Landing is one of the best places in the world to see real life sea otters and sea otter pups still with their mom. This sea otter enthusiast tours with Elkhorn Slough Safari regularly.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sea Otter Uses Bottle

Sea otters are known to be tool users, but this otter found a unique tool, check out the photos. It is a holiday weekend, so he grabbed a beer bottle to crack his clam open. Sure wish folks would discard their trash properly. Turned out that the clam was harder than the bottle and the bottle shattered when he smashed the clam. Luckly the otter did not get cut. He ended up using another clam shell to open his meal. We want to thank Elkhorn Slough Safari passenger G. Brouner for letting us post his "otter in action" photos on the blog.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Landward Sea Otter

Sea Otters at Elkhorn Slough exhibit an unusual behaviour for a sea otter. Our slough sea otters are known to haul out on land. Sometimes they rest on shore, groom on shore, and even collect food on shore. We have watched otters break apart the marsh sediment to expose and catch shoreline small crabs to eat. More than one otter does this on Elkhorn Slough. This is a photo by Captain Yohn of a sea otter sitting in the pickleweed while grooming.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Nursery Grounds

The Elkhorn Slough is the nursery and birthing grounds for many fishes. In the early summer there are hundreds of rays and sharks that give live birth in the slough. Most of these harmless invertebrate eaters are leopard sharks, bat rays, and smooth hound sharks. Often their fins are viewed in the summer shallows. The Captain lifted a leopard shark out of the water for a few minutes so that the passengers could get better look, and passenger C. Menke took this shot.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pelicans are Back!

The California brown Pelicans are a protected species of bird. They return from Mexico breeding grounds to Elkhorn Slough every June. The Elkhorn Slough provides the pelicans a major resting area during the summer. There can be over 6,000 birds in one area. Each morning they fly off to spots all over the slough and Monterey bay.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nesting Birds

Late Spring and early Summer are great times to observe nesting birds and later their chicks on Elkhorn Slough. The most common nesters sighted while on the tour are gulls, egrets, herons and cormorants. The egret & heron rookery is up high in a grove of trees that overlooks the slough channel. The gulls seem to like manmade structures like broken docks, navigation signs, and buoys. The cormorants like to be surrounded by water and most nest near the entrance on abandoned pier pilings and decks. This photograph is of a Brandt's Cormorant sitting on its nest.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Swimming Lessons

We are excited to be watching harbor seal pups this spring. The first births were in March and there have been about three to four born per day. Births usually continue until the beginning of May. The wee ones call to their mothers with a soft bark that sounds like "mom", recognized by even human moms. This is a photo of a little one taking swimming lessons with its attentive mother by its side. It will be fun to watch them grow up over the next few months.