Off the Reserve

This was sent in today: “spotted a pair of Brant geese near the jetty at Moss Landing as a sea otter was “walking”, more like hobbling onto the beach (either a heavy pregnant female or a sick animal)”


This footage was taken in Moss Landing by Ryan Gobler

Witnesses nicknamed it “the surfing deer” because of its water skills.

Sent in from Dave:

My wife and I observed two Brants in the slough at Moss Landing Beach on January 26th. We made the observation from the last parking turnout before the road ended near the mouth of Elkhorn Slough. While we were observing these two individuals, 7 Brants flew over the slough from south to north.

We had a couple questions come into the blog.  This was sent in from Mark 1/20/13:

Hi, I went kayaking in the Slough 1-20-13. Paddled up probably 1.5 miles. I saw many grebes in non-breeding plumage. It seemed to me they were horned grebes, but the blog notes that grebe sightings on 1-18 were eared grebes. Is it possible that there are both species there? Also it appeared that there were two immature or nonbreeding common loons. No blog on this possible sighting. Are these loons found in the slough? Thanks. Mark

Horned grebes and eared grebes are both seen here at the Slough.  Both are “uncommon”, but you definitely could have seen either species. When the birds are lacking their breeding plumage, they can be tricky to identify.  There are many subtle differences. Horned grebes (seen below) are slightly larger, light tip on the end of its bill, and a flat topped head.  Eared grebes will be slightly smaller, dark tip of the bill, smaller head usually with a bump and sometimes a fluffed up rump.

Common loons are common here at the slough as are red-throated loons.  The Pacific loon is less common.

Happy birding everyone.


As reported on Monterey Bay Birds email list, a Sandhill Crane was spotted in Moss Landing in the roosting area across from the kayak shops since last week.

Link to photo:


This dramatic video is of two deer caught up in some old telephone line near Corralitos (not within the watershed). One of the bucks in the video is dead and the rescuer frees the other.


Here’s a link to whole story:

Elkhorn Slough Reserve (NERR), Monterey, US-CA
Aug 17, 2012 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 mile(s)
40 species

Mallard  7
California Quail  7
Double-crested Cormorant  36
Brown Pelican  3
Great Blue Heron  2
Great Egret  4
Snowy Egret  4
White-tailed Kite  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  2
Red-tailed Hawk  3
Black-bellied Plover  1
Spotted Sandpiper  1
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Willet  47
Marbled Godwit  58
Sanderling  13
Least Sandpiper  36
Red-necked Phalarope  36     At Strawberry Road
Ring-billed Gull  2
Western Gull  5
California Gull  1
Elegant Tern  2
Black Skimmer  2     Mudflats at Hummingbird Island
Mourning Dove  3
Anna’s Hummingbird  2
Acorn Woodpecker  3
Northern Flicker  1
Black Phoebe  1
Western Scrub-Jay  5
American Crow  23
Chestnut-backed Chickadee  3
Oak Titmouse  1
Western Bluebird  2
Spotted Towhee  1
California Towhee  3
Song Sparrow  5
House Finch  28
Lesser Goldfinch  16
American Goldfinch  9
House Sparrow  2

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