As I write up this trip report Central California is experiencing
record breaking high temperatures. If only that had been the case
for our April 18th outing. As it was we were subjected to a double
whammy of both wind and fog so the day was a chilly one with bad visibility.
The winds at this time of year are to be expected and appreciated
as they are what drives the food chain in the Monterey Bay and coast
of California but the fog this time of year is atypical.
One trip highlight occurred shortly after leaving the harbor. Off
of Cannery Row we were pointing out the Sea Otters anchored in the
kelp forest when our attention was called to some commotion that turned
out to be a copulating pair of otters. This was a first for many of
us on board and admittedly we were voyeurs to the act which was devoid
of any tenderness. The male appeared to be brutalizing his mate, gripping
her nose in his sharp teeth and holding her under water for long periods
of time. Fortunately it did not go on for long. They broke it off
when I brought out the video camera, no YouTube for them! But Glen
Tepke did capture some still shots of the mating activity, including
this photo of the male biting the female's nose.
As to the birds, here is what Don Roberson compiled for Ebird: