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Moss Covered

(234 views)
by Bryan Costales

A rope, used to separate the parking lot from the sidewalk, was covered in a thick layer of moss. The moss was so thick that was almost impossible to determine the knot used to tie the rope to the wooden post.

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Black-crowned Night Heron

(150 views)
by Terry Costales

This bedraggled juvenile black-crowned night heron was perched on the dock near the boat we were going to use. I hoped it wasn't a harbinger of how our trip would turn out.

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Macaws

(148 views)
by Terry Costales

Two Macaws preening one another. A very intimate, gentle moment in a birds' life.

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Raft of Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)

(146 views)
by Terry Costales

For an unforgettable wildlife experience, I highly recommend the Elkhorn Slough Safari in Moss Landing. We saw over one hundred sea otters, almost eighty harbor seals and dozens of sea lions very up close and personal. This photo shows a raft of about eighty sea otters. Raft is the official label for a bunch of otters hanging out together, looking like a raft. In addition to sea mammals, I also photographed sixteen species of birds. The trip was two hours of wildlife bliss. There were a few . . .

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Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)

(146 views)
by Terry Costales

A very pregnant Harbor Seal looking quite pleased with herself.

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California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus)

(146 views)
by Terry Costales

King of the mountain and he knows it.

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Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

(146 views)
by Terry Costales

Prehistoric looking pelicans sun and preen in the winter sun.

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Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)

(146 views)
by Terry Costales

This is one otter trying to persuade another otter to share its meal. It wasn't very successful.

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Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)

(144 views)
by Terry Costales

I know they are wild animals with big teeth and claws but jeez, don't they look cuddly?!

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Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)

(144 views)
by Terry Costales

This group shot of harbor seals illustrates their cuteness and wide variations in colors.

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Killdeer eggs

(144 views)
by Terry Costales

This was the second killdeer nest I'd found. The first one was on gravel and this one on flowerbed mulch. Both times the nests were easily overlooked and the eggs hard to spot.

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Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

(144 views)
by Terry Costales

The pelican glides effortlessly over the surface of the sea.

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Avocet non-breeding plumage

(144 views)
by Terry Costales

This photo was taken late March of this year and many birds were still in just black and white. For courting and breeding the necks and chest acquire a rusty or tan color. They really seem to enjoy their mud-flats.

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Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

(144 views)
by Terry Costales

It was beautiful day in Santa Cruz and I had been photographing the sea lions when this pelican landed a few feet away on the pier railing. If there was ever a compelling visual argument for birds being the modern descendants of dinosaurs, it's the pelican. I could easily imagine them flying just out of reach above the snapping jaws of some aquatic sea monster.

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Zebra (Equus burchelli boehmi)

(144 views)
by Terry Costales

A beautiful Zebra with gorgeous long lashes. I would love to see Zebras in California fields alongside the horses, sheep and cows. We have Ostriches and Llamas, why not Zebras?

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California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus)

(144 views)
by Terry Costales

To our left as we exited the harbor and entered the slough, we saw an old pier covered with sea lions. We slowly motored past them. It was quite satisfying to be at their level and so close to them. I feel like I ended up with a family portrait instead of a wildlife photo.

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Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)

(142 views)
by Terry Costales

Here is another otter grooming or maybe he is thinking "oh, not another boatload of paparazzi!"

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Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)

(142 views)
by Terry Costales

Harbor seals are close to the top of the cute list, right up there next to sea otters. We saw close to eighty harbor seals that day, most of them lying on shore watching us watching them.

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Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)

(142 views)
by Terry Costales

Two Harbor Seal were of quite different fur colors but all the whiskers were blonde.

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Snowy Egret and Great Egret

(142 views)
by Terry Costales

The larger Great Egret was stalked by the smaller Snowy Egret.

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Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)

(142 views)
by Terry Costales

I was able to get nice close-ups of the harbor seals because I used a telephoto lens. If the boat had come this close they would have been disturbed and swum away.

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Black-crowned Night Heron (nycticorax nicticorax)

(142 views)
by Terry Costales

At the sanctuary, there is a group of palm trees next to the large pond that provides prime nesting spots. It is fenced off to ensure the breeding birds are not disturbed. In late March, this was one of many night herons nesting amongst the snowy and great egrets. Its usually yellow legs are pink because it's breeding season.

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Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis )

(142 views)
by Terry Costales

This is a close-up of the same Pelican I posted yesterday,

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Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)

(142 views)
by Terry Costales

I love the pattern of this seal's fur, but I would never entertain the idea of taking it away from her to use for myself.

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Raft of Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)

(142 views)
by Terry Costales

This photo shows just part of a very large raft of otters we saw in the Elkhorn Slough. The older individuals had light faces, and such cute faces they were.

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