A raft of sea otters

Sea Otter Group Moss Landing

Raft of sea otters at Moss Landing Harbor area, photo by Jun-Yong Brown

“Is this natural?” asked the tourist from Israel as he stood next to me and my grandsons, amazed at what he was seeing.

“I mean, are they wild–is this their natural habitat or some preserve?” he added.  I replied “Yes, they are wild, and this is where they live.”

Raft of sea  otters rd

Photo by Jun-Yong Brown

We were at the Moss Landing State Beach earlier in the day, and my grandsons were excited to see  two sea otters swim past us, very close to the shoreline.

Then on the way home, we stopped to look across the inlet area facing Elkhorn Slough and were delighted to see a congregation of otters…much more excitement!

About 5 minutes after watching the raft of otters…they all swam away.  The conference over perhaps….or maybe it was time to forage for food.

Seeing the raft of otters was a nice way to end to our day at the beach, and I am again so happy to live in the Monterey Bay area, with so many opportunities to see wildlife.

White Face Sea Otter rd

Photo by Jun-Yong Brown

During the early part of the 1700’s, the California sea otter population was estimated to number 150,000.

From the mid 1700’s until the early part of 1900, these otters were almost hunted to extinction for their fur.

Today, California sea otters remain endangered with a population of  less than 3,000.

Boys at Moss Landing beach rd

Earlier in the day, my grandsons spotted 2 sea otters swimming close to the shore at Moss Landing State Beach

Sea-otter-in-kelp-anchor-eye-open-close-up

For more on sea otters, visit related Lolako.com Post: The sea otter’s one-eyed peak  

Adorable Sea Otter video — on the rocks by Monterey Bay wildlife photographer Efren Adalem

and visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium website page Sea Otters as Risk

For more on Elkhorn Slough, visit  the Elkhorn Slough.org website here.  Excerpt:

Dunes and broad stretches of open sandy beach characterize the inner curve of Monterey Bay. The expansive beaches are interrupted only by the outlets of the Pajaro and Salinas Rivers, and the entrance to Elkhorn Slough and Moss Landing Harbor. The protected waters of the slough and its associated mudflats, wetlands, and nearby dunes provide a haven for a wide variety of birds, fish and unusual marine life. This remarkable variety of habitats provides visitors a rare opportunity to explore and discover nature’s secrets.

And I thought we had algae problems…

Have you heard about the largest algal bloom in the world?  It is in China’s Yellow Sea…and has turned sections of the Yellow Sea green.

Two young tourists take photos on a beach

Photograph: Imaginechina /Rex Features via The Guardian News and Media

The Yellow Sea is located between the Korean Peninsula and mainland China.  This year, the Yellow Sea algal bloom covers 11,158 sq miles, which is twice as much as the previous big bloom in 2008!   The China algal bloom covers more area than the entire state of Maryland, which covers 9,775 square miles.

algae-carpet-2-moss-landing-elkhorn-slough-rd11

Algal bloom Moss Landing Monterey county. Photo Lolako.com

In my post, Algae Abundance, I found out that the growth of  some algal mats — at least locally, here in Elkhorn Slough and the Monterey Bay — are a result of excessive nutrient levels (e.g., from fertilizer runoff from agricultural fields) and limits on how much tidal water enters parts of our slough.

Without-Algae

Photo: Lolako.com

The photos  above and below is near Moss Landing harbor — free of algae and then covered in algae.

algae-carpet-at-moss-landing-near-elkhorn-slough

Photo Lolako.com

See more photos and videos on the Yellow Sea — biggest algal bloom to date — on this link here to The Guardian article.

Would YOU go in an algae filled sea or body of water for a swim?

Yellow Sea

Photo via Wikimedia commons

And link here to Lolako.com’s Algae Abundance post

Did you know….

  • The Yellow Sea gets its name from sand particles from Gobi Desert sand storms that turn the surface of the water golden-yellow.
  • It is also one of four seas named after common colors.  The others are the Black Sea, the Red Sea and the White Sea..

Books on bikes and pedalling to the people

We hear so much about the demise of newspapers and print media these days…which is why it was a delight to hear about the Seattle Public Library’s pilot program to bring books out to the community.  And not by the traditional bookmobile van, but by bicycle.

Seattle is one cool city!

crowd

Photo of books on bike at a farmers market via NPR – Gabriel Spitzer.  The trailer can hold 500 lbs and pops open to display books (and comes with an umbrella stand too!).  On the spot, they can also open up a library card for residents.

Read more or listen to the story here on NPR by Gabriel Spitzer.

Still…I wonder how libraries will look and operate 25 years from now.  Will we still check out actual printed books or will it be all digital media or whatever format is around he bend…

Related Lolako.com post: http://lolako.com/how-long-before-print-newspapers-completely-disappear/