Saturday, December 4, 2010


Family groups and gatherings always come out to take our tour, especially over the holidays. Elkhorn Slough Safari is ideal for the young to old and gives all age groups something to enjoy. Sometimes it is out of town guests, and another time it is locals getting some local time off to explore their own area. We have had as many as four generations on board at once. Bring your guests or give them gift certificates for the tour.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sea Otter Show

The otters have outdone themselves again. We realize these delightful creatures are a joy to watch, but they seem to go out of their way sometimes to entertain us with their clowning. This otter seems to be drinking from a plastic cup. Note to all: see where litter and garbage end up? One of the passengers just thought the sea otter was celebrating our world series champs! We would like to thank S. ONeal for sharing his photos from the day with us.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Giant Sea Hare

This month has nice low tides that expose the flats. The exposed eel grass and gracilaria seaweed beds shimmer in the sunshine. This habitat is home to many sea creatures including a very large sea slug. It is called a sea hare because it eats lots of plants and appears to have "ears". These interesting animals squirt a think purple ink when upset or disturbed.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Our naturalist guide Kelly came in from her tour this week with quite a story. For as far as she could see there were jellyfish in the waters of Elkhorn Slough. The Captain reported that this does not happen very often, and the last he remembered seeing so many was about 7 years ago. Kelly was fasinated by their movements, by the several different types, and by the variety of sizes. Jellyfish are taken wherever the sea currents flow because jellyfish have little power of their own. The incoming tidal current brought them into the slough. They have continued to see the jellies all week. The photos here are of sea nettle jellies taken from the tour boat.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

More Sea Otters

Sea otters were just everywhere these last few days. There alot of wonderful wildlife observations that you can particpate in. These numbers of sea otters are just one of the top wonders to experience. The otters group together in rafts for the "safety in numbers", there are more eyes to keep watch for danger. They most often rest and snooze when in these rafts. Quite a sight to see and enjoy.

Friday, August 27, 2010

New This Year

Many of our passengers come several times each year and year after year. No year is ever the same and there is always something different to see or something different happening. This year for example the roosting and nesting area for the Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets has moved. Before it was on the reserve by the hiking trails, this year it is located right next to main channel. We have been able to watch the birds nest and fledge all summer. The photo is of one of the juvenile herons landing on the marsh. Another sighting early this month was a rare fish one, although not the first time. We sighted a Mola Mola sunfish while on tour in the Elkhorn Slough. One never knows what one will see.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

True Love on the Slough

Our naturalist guide, Chelsea, was recently surprized while on our tour. And it was not by a sea otter nor a harbor seal. Included on the tour were her family and her boyfriend. On the return route, her boyfriend went to the front of the boat where our guide was. He got down on his knee, told her a beautiful sea chantie love poem, and asked her to marry him! She said yes immediately and he quickly placed the ring on her finger. Her family cheered. We wish them just the very best life as to offer.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Majestic White Fishing Bird

There are many more American White pelicans this year than we have sighted in past years. We would have said they were rare in the summer, but not this year. These large birds are a pleasure to watch with their coordinated efforts and graceful dipping moves (they do not dive like brown pelicans). They have been getting all sorts of bait fish, top smelt and the like. The plate on its bill is the sign of a breeding bird, The plate is fiberous and is generally shed after eggs are laid.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

First Time Ever - Sea Lion Pups

Captain Yohn Gideon has been leading Elkhorn Slough Safari's since 1994,and in all that time he has never seen a sea lion having pup. In fact, it's rare to even have a female sea lion in Northern California. Females usually stay South at the Channel Islands. The male sea lions dominate the Moss Landing area and Monterey Bay. Captain Yohn comments, "I know I have never seen a sea lion born in Moss Landing, not in all 16 years. I have never seen a sea lion pup in the slough." "We do enjoy seeing harbor seal pups being born in the slough each spring and right now we have three or four new sea otter pups and their moms up Elkhorn Slough," stated Captain Yohn, "But never a sea lion pup, until now." On the Elkhorn Slough Safari tour today passengers were treated to the birth of a California sea lion and even took home vdeo. The Captain reports there are 5 sea lion pups in all and we watched two of the births. The Captain wrapped up, "That is what is exciting about leading these tours. You never know what you are going to see!"
Photo of the first ever sea lion pup in Elkhorn Slough is by Captain Yohn Gideon and shows a mom cleaning the afterbirth from her newborn

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hungry Sea Lion

Just last week one of our photographer passengers captured this incredible scene from the tour boat. This sea lion is gobbling up a Thornback ray. We never know what we are going to see out there on Elkhorn Slough. Thanks to R. Jackrel for sharing the photo with all of us.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cuddly Otter Toys

Many of our passengers who love otters go home with one of our soft and fuzzy stuffed otter toys. We do not usually get reports on the stuffed toys, but Marge emailed us this photo of their pet dog who apparently adores the otter toy. Tootsie seems to agree with us that otters need all the protection and care they can get.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sea Otter Mom and Pup

This photo says it all, so we will just confirm that this is a day old newborn Calfornia Sea Otter watched from Elkhorn Slough Safari's boat.. The Photograph belongs to Mr. M. Edson who allowed us to post it here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

New Staff

We would like to introduce our newest naturalist tour guide. This is Chelsea and she comes to us with a biology background and work experience doing interpretation at the Hawaiian Aquarium. One of her favorite topics is sea otter biology. The clam shell she is holding is the type that Elkhorn Slough sea otters have in their diet.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Colors of Spring

This time of year the birds are getting all dressed up for the breeding and nesting seasons. For example, these Caspian Terns are showing off why they are named "Caspian". The intense red beaks are named after the Caspian red sea. Soon they will have nests and chicks at Elkhorn Slough.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Every now and again, we get very, very unusual visitors at Elkhorn Slough. This time it is a pink Greater Flamingo! We have been watching this bird for nearly a week now from the tour. Mostly on the mudflats of seal bend but also in the water near Kirby. These birds are not native, not even from this coastline. However, this is not the first time flamingo was observed here, there were two others in the 80s. Nearly all are escapees from a zoo or park. This specific bird has a pale yellow leg tag which we reported. If it is identified we will report it here at this blog entry.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Romance on the Elkhorn Slough

This handsome fellow commerated the last day of the year by surprizing his girlfriend of two years with his proposal of marriage. Captain Yohn and crew were in on the secret plan. The Captain picked a perfect spot to stop the boat, requested a volunteer to help him, the Captain chose her, and Captain positioned her on the bow. Then, the groom to be also went up, got down on one knee, opened a red ring box, and he asked her sincerley. She said yes!! Everyone including the sea otters were delighted. We wish them a wonderful marriage and many, many happy years together.