Elephant Seals

May 31, 2009

The final stop of the day last saturday was at the Elephant Seal haul-out just north of San Simeon.  It’s been several years since I’ve stopped at the popular viewing spot and I don’t remember seeing such a large number of them before.  The majority seemed to be molting females but there were also some males in the mix.  Several of them were fighting with each other and one poor female was getting chased by multiple bulls.

 

“Potential”  –  San Simeon, CA

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Morro Bay Sea Otters

May 31, 2009

Here are photos of the very cooperative group of sea otters floating in the bay.  I was really glad to see them so close to shore, since they were the primary reason for stopping there.  It would have also been nice to see the Peregrines too.  Maybe next time.

 

“Sea Otters I”  –  Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo County, CA

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Morro Bay Ground Squirrels

May 31, 2009

The next stop on last weekend’s trip was Morro Bay.  A lot of kids were there feeding the ground squirrels and completely ignoring the group of sea otters floating near shore.  Completely habituated (i.e dependent) to people, the squirrels would walk right up to you and expect handouts.  Other highlights of the stop were watching a Pelagic Cormorant fish in the bay and a Pigeon Guillemont preen.  I was only able to get record photos of these birds, so will have to go back again and try again.

 

“Baby Ground Squirrel”  –  Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo County, CA

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Oso Flaco

May 30, 2009

I’m finally getting around to posting some of the many photos I took last weekend.  Saturday started out foggy / overcast, but I still decided to drop by Oso Flaco on the way up to San Luis Obispo.  There wasn’t a very high diversity of waterfowl, mostly mallards, ruddy ducks, and a few cormorants.  The swallows were actively flying over the lake but the lighting conditions made it impossible to get a decent shot.  But we did get to see a mother mallard with a record breaking number of ducklings.  Some sort of shenanigans must have been involved to wind up with that many!

 

“Rabbit”  –  Oso Flaco, Santa Barbara County, CA

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Low Tide

May 29, 2009

Early this week we had several days of minus tide, and I took advantage of that by exploring the rocks at Campus Point.  The shore crabs were definitely the most interesting and active creatures out there.  Watching them brought back painful memories of working with the crabs in a teaching lab while in grad school.  They’re feisty little guys!  And another first for me… a picture of one blowing bubbles!

 

“Shore Crab I”  –  Campus Point at UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA

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Skunked!!

May 22, 2009

Yes, my first skunk photo!!  I took it with my trusty G10 while chatting with Peter.  I really wonder what the passers-by thought while I was chasing after a skunk while talking on my cell.  In addition to this entertaining encounter, I’ve witnessed and captured a bunch of interesting bird behavior.  The Kites continue to work on their new nest, I found a pair of Killdeer intent on keeping intruders away, and this morning saw a Great Blue Heron in dire need of a chiropractor!  Hope you enjoy the recent photos.

 

“Striped Skunk”  –  Bluffs at UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA

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White-tailed Kites in Flight

May 17, 2009

The juvenile White-tailed Kites have finally fledged and are rapidly improving their flying skills.  I imagine that learning rapidly is probably quite important when it comes to flying.  The adults have been busy feeding them and possibly working on a new nest, although it’s hard to tell if they have settled on where to build it yet.  Friday evening was a particularly good day to observe them, because both the juveniles and adults were doing plenty of flying.  Even better, they were flying relatively closely, which made for some great photos.

 

“Juvenile Kite I”  –  Lake Los Carneros, Goleta, CA

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