Point Lobos birding +

Point Lobos (Point Lobos State Natural Reserve) is a great place to visit any time of the year — the views are amazing and the wildlife always plenty. Yet this time of year is truly amazing for watching breeding birds and marine mammals with pups. To celebrate today’s World Oceans Day, I spent the morning at Point Lobos with my birding class led by Brian Weed, and here are some of our sightings.


Black-crowned night heron



Black oystercatcher



Brandt’s cormorants



Pelagic cormorants


California thrasher






Sea otter

2 Comments on “Point Lobos birding +

  1. Wonderful shots. I have yet to catch a good look at a (wild) sea otter. One I did see at the Newport Aquarium was really sad. He seemed a bit neurotic swimming endlessly in a small circle. Or is that normal behavior?


    • Thanks, Gunta.
      Sounds like you need to get to Alaska or down this way (Elkhorn Slough or Monterey kelp beds) to see wild sea otters. I see them just about every day I walk the shore. At Point Lobos yesterday we saw 5 females with pups. Really positive sign of recovery.

      Here’s a second best way to see wild otters — the live webcam in Moss Landing Harbor: http://seaotters.com/live/ or the Elkhorn Slough webcam: http://www.elkhornslough.org/ottercam/ . There are almost always sea otters on one of these cams.

      The otter behavior at the aquarium that you described could be stereotypy. It’s a repetitive motion/behavior of a captive animal (wild or domestic) and typically a sign that the animal isn’t getting enough variety or behavioral stimulus. Many places these days use enrichment (hidden food or puzzle toys or engagement/training sessions) to reduce boredom and eliminate stereotypy.



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