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Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

3 girlfriends and I joined one our favorite Photography Meet-Up groups for a morning in Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA. Our group of 18 spent a couple of hours on a 27 ft Pontoon Boat cruising around the slough observing and photographing wildlife and birds.  It was my second time going out on this boat. Both times were lots of fun. Captain Joe, and Naturalist John Carlo were both very informative about the wildlife and birds that call Elkhorn Slough home.

The Slough seemed quiet compared to other times I’ve birded there. We missed early morning feeding time I think, and there weren’t as many Sea Otters as I’ve seen in the past, but there was still plenty to look at.

Here are some of the birds, and animals I saw while out in the Slough-

Brown Pelican- There were quite a few of these gliding around the slough looking for tasty fish.

Brown Pelican

a Harbor Seal sun bathing:

Harbor Seal

an Elegant Tern in Flight

Elegant Tern

Those Terns are so fast and agile! It was challenging getting a sharp image of them in flight.

A Mom Sea Otter and Nursing pup. This might be tricky to see; Mom’s face is at the back grooming the pup, while the pup nurses with its face near Mom’s feet/flippers.

Mom Sea Otter and Nursing PupI photographed the Mom and Pup for a minute then turned around to see if anything good came along in the meantime, and there was! An old bottle with a lovely lavender/purple patina was floating our way. I called it out and said I wanted it. John Carlo very kindly said he’d get it for me. I asked if he had a net, and he replied, “A net. I don’t need a net. I’ll pluck it out.”  With that Captain Joe maneuvered the boat to within grabbing reach, and John Carlo true to his word, plucked it from the water and presented it to me.  My trip souvenir treasure.

There’s a little shell inside the mouth, and it looks old. John Carlo said the Sea Otters probably found it, or dislodged it while looking for food. It once was clear glass, but has seen the sun because it’s turned purple. Especially at the top.  The only markings the bottle has is a number on the bottom; no other maker’s mark are evident.  I’ll probably never know how old it is, or who made it, but I love it!  Thank you John Carlo!

Treasure from the Slough

A small Sea Otter Raft- They group themselves together, sometimes holding hands, and they tie themselves up in the sea grass, and kelp to keep from drifting out to sea while they’re eating, grooming, and sleeping. When they’re grouped like that they look like a raft. This Raft had less than 20 Sea Otters in it.

Sea Otter Raft

Sea Otter wrapped in Sea Grass

Sea Otter Wrapped in Sea Grass_0561

It was a wonderful morning for me, and a relaxing, lazy one for this yawning Sea Otter…

Yawn!Nikon D300s| AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4| Hand-held| Lexar Professional Digital Film| Developed in Photoshop CS6

More to come…

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20 Comments

  1. Beautiful photos Deborah and such a lovely day out! Love it all and the sea otters are so cute – didn’t know about the rafts they made. Thank you! 🙂

  2. wonderful wildlife!!

  3. Gorgeous pictures! The otters are so cute and the flying birds so elegant :-). Glad you had a beautiful day with a mysterious antique bottle as a reminder.

  4. Love this post, Deborah! Your treasure is gorgeous. I know how tricky it is to get a good shot of those birds, and am amazed at your photo. Awesome 🙂

    • Thank you very much Melissa! They’re so beautiful and fast! They fly upside down! I hope to get a really sharp image of that one day. I’ve got one that’s not so sharp. 🙂

  5. A treasure trove of terrific shots. Love them all.

  6. Boy, hard to choose a favorite! Love the tern especially but I love them all. Happy Tuesday 💛

  7. These pictures are beautiful (and the otter is so cute).

    • Thank you Dan! I like their faces best when they’re dry and fluffy. They’re like little Teddy Bears…sort of. 🙂

  8. sweet sweet shots, Deborah!! what a great experience, to be able to photograph sealife in the wild!

  9. LOVE all the pictures! That bottle! Definitely a treasure 🙂

    • Thank you Nicole! I probably should dump out the bit of sea water that’s still in it, but haven’t the heart to…yet. 🙂


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