Newport Beach Whale Watch, August 3, 2016

What a beautiful day!  Lots of common dolphins- these engaging and beautiful creatures are always one of my favorites.  More unusual- we saw a sea turtle!  It's very rare to see them off of Newport at all, but imagine the odds of us nearly running one over in the middle of all that ocean! 

Newport Back Bay, July 2, 2016

Very happy that I got to see black skimmers on this hike!  Beautiful migratory birds- notice how they skim the water with their beaks, which have an underbite so they can scoop fish.  Also saw a beautiful turkey vulture and a Northern Mockingbird, along with some awesome little fiddler crabs!

Bolsa Chica Wetlands, Huntington Beach, July 25, 2016

Lots of beautiful creatures out and about!  Birds are so quietly resilient and I applaud them for their ability to endure even in the most developed places.  We do such a good job destroying birds' habitats and polluting and just generally threatening their wellbeing, and yet they are somehow still here.  Go birds!  In the order you see them below, we have an American kestrel, great egret, great blue heron, a gorgeous osprey with half a fish, a very tiny and very cute merlin, and a clapper rail.  Remember to be nice to birds today!

Newport Beach Whale Watch, July 26, 2016

What a gift today was!  This juvenile humpback breached again and again right in front of the Ocean Explorer, and did a lot of pectoral slaps too!  This little whale was joined by a very large humpback a few minutes later, who was infected with sea lice that give him the orange appearance you see in some of these photos.  Later on we saw yet another humpback, whose appearance was equally distinct because of the two gashes behind his dorsal fin from a boat strike.  And of course there were common dolphins!