Word Craft/Nature Focus

About the Blog

Two Western Gulls focus on a pile of bread crumbs

Bay-to-Beach Life is about walking Monterey Bay beaches and shoreline habitats and kayaking coastal waters while musing about encounters with the amazing diversity of wildlife. I find this a great place to live and a wondrous place to explore, and I’m glad you could join in on my outside adventures.

Chris

Monterey Bay live webcams for 2021

The world has changed since starting this annual post on Monterey Bay webcams. Until we’re done with COVID-19, webcams are still a good way to visit the bay or plan your visit. So here are the best coastal webcams for your viewing pleasure starting with the Monterey Peninsula, moving south into Carmel and Big Sur, and then up the coast to Santa Cruz.

The best live cam view of Custom House Plaza, Fisherman’s Wharf I & II and Monterey Harbor is from the Portola Hotel roof in Monterey. This is the only cam on the Plaza —
an iconic downtown hub. The view is especially nice at dawn, dusk and during storms.

MontereyHarborThis old shot shows people in the Plaza. Today’s live view will be mostly peopleless.
I look forward to the time when the area opens and special events return to the Plaza.

The most awesome cam view of southern Monterey Bay is from atop A Taste of Monterey on Cannery Row. The webcam gently scans back and forth between the Intercontinental Hotel and A Taste of Monterey. This is my go-to cam for blissing out on blue-sky days and dark-gray stormy ones. If you visit this webcam, watch closely. On clear spring days you can sometimes see the misty spouts of gray or humpback whales. I’m looking forward to using the water-conditions guidance for when I get back to kayaking.

TasteCam1

MBAqWebcamJust down Cannery Row is the Monterey Bay Aquarium with several live webcams, mostly focused on inside exhibits, but the Monterey Bay Cam offers shoreline views with the soothing sound of the surf. The location is perfect for close-up sightings of seabirds, shorebirds and sleepy seals on rocks and beaches. While visiting the Aquarium’s site, check out the cams showing what’s inside.
They’re almost as good as visiting the exhibits in person.

PB18thVenturing south of Monterey, be sure to visit Pebble Beach Resorts’ Golf Cams. There are several, each at a different Pebble Beach Golf Links hole. My favorite is the golf cam at the 18th Green the renowned finishing hole on Carmel Bay. Whether you’re a golf fan or not, the Stillwater Cove view is spectacular.

In Carmel there’s the unpretentious Carmel ClamCam, which works sometimes better than others. I know nothing about the website or sponsor except that this cam provides a long-shot view of Carmel Beach, a beautiful dog-friendly shoreline, that no one else has.

If we continue on our virtual tour, the south end of Carmel — Carmel Highlands —
won’t disappoint with the webcam view from the Tickle Pink Inn. Settled in with
my favorite beverage and I could watch this scene forever.

Turning back north through Monterey along the Monterey Bay coastline to
mid-bay is a lovely working harbor and town called Moss Landing. It’s home to
Elkhorn Slough, the second largest tidal salt marsh along the California coast.
The Slough has two “OtterCams.” What’s wonderful about these secretly located cams is that you never know what you’ll see. Oftentimes it’s sea otters but you may also get sightings of seals, shorebirds and other shoreline life. It’s always a surprise.

North of Moss Landing toward Santa Cruz, is Seascape Beach in Aptos. It’s a lovely beach and images are from Seascape Beach Resort. The focus is off as the camera pans, but you can get a sense of this secluded spot. This webcam (and the Monterey Harbor one) are on HDOnTap, which has live webcams of amazing places (like Donner Lake dusted with snow or an osprey nest in San Francisco Bay). So, if you can’t get outside, and want to visit some place other than Monterey Bay, HDOnTap allows you to take a multitude of virtual  tours.

At the north end of Monterey Bay is Santa Cruz, a lively beach community. The Small Craft Harbor cam offers a shot of the lighthouse and harbor mouth with boats coming and going, sea lions basking on the breakwater, and sometimes surfers catching waves. It also offers other views that you can control (although I haven’t quite figured our how that works). So have fun!

As you visit Monterey Bay vicariously, we hope you enjoy these eyes on the bay.
Wishing you well wherever you are. And looking forward to your return to our lovely area for real.

Winter/Spring in Laguna Grande

LagunaGrandeWinter 2018CMaParsonsWinter/spring is often a single season along the central California coast. Our winters are usually rainy and cool. This past December it was dry with mid-month temperatures reaching 77° Fahrenheit (25°C). Instead of welcoming wet winter, autumn was not ready to release its grip.

IMG_8447During January and February we had weeks of wintery cool (highs in the mid-50s, around 18°C) but with little rain alternating with springtime warmth (highs in the 70s, around 24°C).  [Note to those who experience cold, snowy winters: I’m not complaining.
I know we have mild weather year round. Rain, especially lack of, is our major winter concern.]

LagunaGrandeSpring Flowers 2018CMaParsonsNow in March, it rained for 10 of the 20 days before the equinox and 5 of the 5 days after. Winter finally arrived with the arrival of astronomical spring. but today the season switched again. It’s a beautiful, sunny spring day with a few clouds.

Confused? Maybe the local humans are, but not the avian fauna of Laguna Grande. Throughout this winter/spring mix up, visitors and residents have made the most of winter lethargy and springtime exuberance. Enjoy.

Autumn in Laguna Grande 2

I couldn’t get all of my favorite lagoon birds in the previous post, so here are more starting with empty and decaying cliff swallow nests — a sure sign of fall.

Some of the birds below are year-round regulars. The sparrows are infrequent past visitors. (Hover over images for names.)

If you’re in the area, take some time to enjoy our lovely fall weather at the lagoon.

Autumn in Laguna Grande

The root of “autumn” refers to the harvest and the root of “fall” refers to the fall of leaves, which traditionally occur this time of year in places other than here. Even so, this has always been my favorite time of year. Foggy gray days fade under bright blue skies.

To celebrate fall, I thought I’d share seasonal images of my local park and wetland. The lagoon offers an odd mix of recreation for the two very different communities that straddle it, good habitat for birds and birding, and a chronic homeless encampment. Some people treasure it, many people ignore it, and residents have mixed feelings.

I’m fond of Laguna Grande Park for its easy access to some very fine year-round birding. During the fall season, the lagoon and surroundings welcome migrants that enliven the local scene. Here are some of my favorite residents and visitors during autumn. (Tap images for bird names.)