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Baltimore by the Sea

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Three Mammal Day at Crescent City

We started the day in Crescent City, nixing restaurants, choosing instead to stay in our room, downing coffee and yogurt, and such. It was just as yummy and considerably cheaper. Score one for a smidgen of economy.

I decided to go for a ride, so we piled in the car and cruised down to the Crescent City boat harbor. There I looked for something more interesting than the piles of California Sea Lions and tubby Harbor Seals, all lolling about on piers and piles. I caught a glimpse of brown streaks skimming by - could it be... no way... River Otters?

Mother otter with her pair of pups
River Otters, three of them, busily paddling by in salt water... I stared at them as hard as I could but they didn't turn into Sea Otters. I dodged back to the car as fast as I could, trying to remain calm enough to grab my camera but not drop it on the asphalt of the dock.

Stalwart little swimmers
How wonderful were they? Torpedoing along the jetty, destination known only to them.

When I finally recovered from the excitement of the River Otters, I drove us over to the Marine Mammal Center, for a quick peek at their current orphan pinnipeds. Today there was a sweet little Northern Fur Seal and a small Harbor Seal pup. I hope when they're released they figure out how to fish and such.

Next I headed up the coast towards Saint George Point, but on the way we noticed parked cars on the cliffs, with everyone staring out to sea at... poofs of mist!There be whales out there! I too, parked along the cliff on the ocean frontage street, and Barbara and I stared out to sea. Again we spotted the poofs of mist, and then I saw the mottled grey, barnacled crusted backs of California Gray Whales.

This whale blowing pic was taken with a 400 mm lens; the whales were pretty far off
Blowing whale to the left, submerging whale to the right

No fancy tail lobbing or theatrics, only backs visible between dives

Once again we headed towards Saint George Point, and suddenly both Barbara and I were staring in amazement as we saw a wee land beastie pop like a jack-in-the-box, up from the steep slope, to lope across the street, in front of my speeding car. As I jammed on the brakes we watched a fat raccoon dart across the lawn of a ocean front house. Reaching a tall cedar by the house, the raccoon began to climb the steep tree. I kept yelling, "It's right THERE!", and Barbara kept looking, I don't know where, and shouting, "Where is it!?" I finally got her on it by which time the animal must have been ten feet up the tree. Where the heck was it going?

I managed some half-arse parking, jumped out the car with my camera but had to concede this round went to the raccoon which had disappeared into the thick overhead branches.

Wow. We had a three wild mammal morning: otters, whales and a raccoon. Later in the day we returned to the shore and again we spotted the pair of feeding Gray Whales. This time I got photos of the behemoths, which are the ones shown above. A three mammal day; one Raccoon, two Gray Whales and three River Otters, a trifecta of critters. 

1 comment:

    I had a nice trip with you. teehe, hey that's how I do, travel via cyberspace.