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.

Monterey Bay Birding Festival – September 13th to 16th

From the Elkhorn Slough Foundation’s latest newsletter, Slough Buzz…

The eighth annual Monterey Birding Festival is fast approaching! This year the festival will be held September 13-16th at the Watsonville Civic Plaza. September marks the peak of fall migration, with wintering shorebirds arriving en masse.

Greg Miller, one of the three key characters in Mark Obmascik’s book “The Big Year” (now a major motion picture) will be the keynote speaker on Saturday, Sept. 15.

When Elkhorn Slough Foundation (ESF) started this festival years ago we had hoped to share the joy of birding with a few local enthusiasts. After all, Elkhorn Slough is a mecca for birders looking to check off their ‘life bird’ list with our more than 340 species of bird species.

The Elkhorn Slough Birding Festival quickly grew into a giant celebration of all things bird, and became an entity all its own: today’s Monterey Birding Festival. You can join other birding enthusiasts on hikes, tours, in classes and more at this years’ festival, so we hope you’ll come enjoy the company of your fellow fans of our feathered friends!

For more information on the festival or to register visit http://montereybaybirding.org/

And for more on Elkhorn Slough (pronounced “slew”)  — an ecological treasure in Monterey Bay and the largest tract of tidal salt marsh in California outside San Francisco Bay — please visit www.elkhornslough.org.