Monday, November 30, 2009

Favorite Time of Year

Whether you like birds or sea otters or just plain beautiful vistas, the crisp clear days of fall and winter are just a favorite time to be on the Elkhorn Slough. The softer sunlight makes for wonderful photographs and memories. This tour group watched flocks and flocks of birds moving about the mudflats of the tidal channels, it was awe inspiring. The numbers of birds are the highest in the fall and winter.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bird Migration

The numbers and variety of bird species is increasing rapidly on Elkhorn Slough right now, as it always does in autumn. We are seeing all sorts of migrators from these tiny sandpipers to all sorts of waterfowl. However, these little migration experts are some of our favorites. They travel great distances on a diet of tiny worms! It is a Fall celebration of wildlife in the wetlands.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

All the World

People come from all over the world to see the wildlife on Elkhorn Slough. They are in search of a particular bird, marine mammals, and the playful otters. They come and take photos of the wildlife and scenery and our crew. Sometimes they take video for TV shows in Germany, Australia, Japan, Denmark, United Kingdom, Canada, China and many others. This Japanese visitor insisted in having her photo with Captain Yohn and said the otters and pelicans were her favorites.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


These beautiful birds are sighted frequently on Elkhorn Slough. They stand very still watching for bait fish to capture and eat. It is challenge to see them in all the different behaviours while on a tour. Stalking, flying, preening, wading, nesting, and competing for territories.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pelicans of Summer

One of the summer highlights is the large numbers of California Brown Pelicans at Elkhorn Slough. The slough is a major roosting and resting location for these birds which were nearly wiped out by the use of DDT pesticides in the past. We also see lots of the much larger White Pelicans who tend to organized together for fishing.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Crab with Otter

Our passengers are always forwarding amazing shots of the sea otters. Here they captured an otter tangling with a kelp crab. We do not often see otters with crabs in the Elkhorn Slough, generally their diet is on clams and large innkeeper worms. This day after much yipping from the pinching, the otter did finally get his crab meal.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Our Captain Yohn officiates at weddings. He has married couples on board the Safari boat with sea otters as witnesses, married couples at the Captain's Inn bed and breakfast, and married people around Monterey Bay. The Captain dons on all his regalia and uses his fine voice to take the couple through their vows and blessings. Couples have even used "nautical poetry" in their service such as "having a love as constant as the tide". Captain comments, "It is a pleasure and a privledge to share in such happy times with people."

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sea Otter Photography

"I have traveled all over the world to photograph wildlife and Elkhorn Slough Safari's operation presents some of the best photo opportunities I have ever experienced. Between ESS's stable, flat bottom boat, Captain Yohn's expertise and the abundance and variety of wildlife, you just can't beat this. And for photographing sea otters in particular, this is quite simply, the best shooting in the world. " --Suzi, photo expert and guide, this is her photo of a mother sea otter with her pup in her arms

Friday, March 13, 2009

First Seal Puppy

This week we observed the first harbor seal pup of the season. All spring long, we see many slough babies such as this harbor seal pup. When new, they are cute wrinkly little guys yipping for their mama. It sure fun to watch them try to get their bearings and to nurse. Pups will continue to be born through mid-May.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sea Lions

"This is a group of California Sea Lions, from the boat you can hear their characteristic barking sound", comments naturalist Rachel. These animals are quite common here and often put on a display that makes you laugh. While generally here most of the year, their numbers are particularly high just before and after big waves in the winter.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Candid Camera Sea Otter

I have been taking tours out on Elkhorn Slough for 15 years, and am amazed that there is always something new, but this has got to be one of the quirkiest observations yet. We just finished a week long set of cruises with a photography club. We had many wonderful wildlife shots including the baby otter. But this fellow seemed to be taking photos of us! A tourist must have dropped this video camera in the slough (been under a while as evidenced by the alga growth) and it was found by the otter. One of the photographers shared his photo with us and allowed us to post it. Photographer Enrique Aguirre stated, "OK, this is the funniest thing I have seen in the wild. I promise there is no Photoshop involved, this IS a REAL shot.". We wonder what the otter plans to use it for, maybe the sea otter is posting on u-tube right now.... Captain Yohn Gideon

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bird Count 2009

We volunteer our boat and time to the annual Christmas-time bird count sponsored by the Audubon Society, for over 15 years. Every year the Moss Landing area is a top birding spot, and has a top number of bird species for the entire country. Most years Elkhorn Slough is in the top 10 and often top 5 in the nation. Always held on the First of January for our area, this years unofficial count was over 201 species in one day!