See my new post on the fence blocking the view of the cormorants at Breakwater blues.
Now is the time when California sea lions and Brandt’s cormorants battle for control of the Monterey Breakwater. The breakwater is a favored hauling-out hangout for male sea lions during most of the year, but in the spring, Brandt’s cormorants gather for displaying, mating, nesting and rearing young (pelagic and double-crested cormorants choose more private rookery sites).
Right now you can watch the cormorants starting to stake territory with nests while slowing moving the sea lions off the rocks. (It’s a king-of-the-hill game and eventually sea lions lose to the jabs of the cormorants’ pointy bills.)
Over the next several months, if this year is typical, the top of the breakwater will change from mostly brown (sea lions) to nearly all black and white (cormorants and guano-covered nests). You can get a great close-up view by taking a short walk from the parking lot down the paved lane to the end where a fence separates people and wildlife.
While you stroll, observe the divers and anglers, surfbirds, black turnstones, an occasional sea otter and the spectacular view.