Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Red-Tailed Tropicbird in Kaua'i

Today, I visited the Kilauea Lighthouse in Kilauea, Kaua'i which is home to many different birds.  Here is a shot of a darting Red-Tailed Tropicbird or Phaethon rubricauda.  It nests on the Hawaiian Islands and is seen widely in tropical and subtropical areas of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Humpback Whale "Pec Slaps" and Flukes

Last August, in addition to seeing blue whales, we also encountered many humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae).  In particular, we spent quite a bit of time near a mother humpback whale and her frisky calf.  The calf was waving pectoral fin(s) in the air and being generally rambunctious.  Apparently, an adult humpback's pectoral fins are the largest in the world and can extend to over 15 feet.  The calf seemed to be waving hello (and then good-bye) to all on the whale watch boat.

Humpback Whale in Monterey Bay


Humpback Whale in Monterey Bay



Humpback Whale in Monterey Bay

We also saw a tail slap by an adult humpback whale and several tails/flukes as the whales dove.  Last but not least, we saw a calf breach.  Due to the speed and unpredictability of the breach and my own excitement at trying to capture it, the photo is a bit blurry.

Humpback Whale Tail Slap in Monterey Bay
Tail Slap

Humpback Whale in Monterey Bay

Humpback Whale in Monterey Bay



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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Southern Sea Otters in Monterey Bay

Southern Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) are a fixture in Monterey Bay, California.  On our whale watch last year, we saw this little whiskered fellow hanging out by a kelp forest and munching on a clam.  At first, he was floating on his back in the water with a clam on his chest and next he had cracked the clam and was eating.  They are such delightful creatures.  Although the Southern Sea Otter population is much larger than earlier in the 20th Century, they are still dying at alarming rates and struggling to survive.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium is doing a lot of research on these otters and has a wonderful exhibit of otters who are unable to be released back into the wild.

Sea Otter in Monterey Bay

Sea Otter in Monterey Bay

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Leviathans Next Door: Blue Whales in Monterey

Last August, we spent the day on a whale watch off the Monterey, California coast.  While the weather was chilly and overcast, it was a spectacular day as we saw 5 blue whales and 25 to 30 humpback whales.  Here are some shots of the largest animal ever known on earth: the Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus).  We were lucky to see two travelling together as well as a mother and her calf.  They dwarfed our boat and seemed like stealthy submarines gliding through the depths.


Blue Whale Diving with Calf Nearby
Blue Whale Diving with Calf Nearby


Blue Wale in Waters off Pebble Beach
Blue Whale off Pebble Beach
Two Blue Whales
Two Blue Whales
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