The Animal Post!!

Hello all of you lovely folk who have been breathlessly waiting for my next blog entry šŸ™‚

Turns out, it’s hard for me to imagine that my day to day life is really all that terribly interesting! After the initial excitement of the move, I had a hard time sitting down to write a grand tale of going to work every day, plenty of us do that, but there are lots of good things to enjoy in life if you take the time to. With that nugget in mind, this post will feature the fauna that I have discovered here in my new ocean-side life!

I have to say, that I can’t get enough of aquatic animals. As a mountain gal, I am still so fascinated by ocean dwellers. On my bike rides to and from work, I have my eyes glued to the water, scouring for the dark little bodies of otters, seals, sea lions, dolphins, and, oh goodness, if I could see a whale! This method (despite some swerving and near accidents) has worked out quite well for me.


One gray, clear morning, I noticed a single kayak out on the water. It looked so peaceful out there that I started considering the possibility of a kayak commute more seriously. Suddenly, feet from the kayak, dolphins started surfacing. He was getting his own private swim with them! I was so happy for him, forging out into the water so early and without the beckoning of the sun, but he was duly rewarded. I was able to capture the photo at the left. Awesome!

Another afternoon, I was lazily pedaling home when I noticed a dark figure bobbing around in the kelp. I really couldn’t place what it was. Not graceful and smooth like a seal, too dark for a sea lion, not as big as a dolphin…was it maybe a struggling snorkeler?? By this time I had stopped my bike and leaned over the railing for a closer look to be sure I didn’t need to activate my Search and Rescue super hero skills. Behind me an older woman boasted, “It doesn’t get much better than this does it?” I assumed she wasn’t talking about my great physique or the overcast day, so I asked, “Does that mean you know what that is?” “It’s a mother otter with her baby!” Suddenly, my brain could piece it together. She was moving so strangely because she was floating on her back, with a little one on top! Then I had to agree with random otter-loving woman, it didn’t get much better than that….at that moment…true. I wasn’t able to get a good photo, but here is one off of the internet that gives you land-locked folk an idea of how cute it is.

Now for the story of the great pelican rescue. John and I went down to Seabright Beach for the sunset after a wonderful Santa Cruz weekend with Tripp and Karen. We were strolling down the lighthouse jetty when I noticed that there was a pelican sitting in the beach break down the way. He was getting pounded by whitewash at every wave, but was never flying away. Was he injured? dead? stoned off of some left out Santa Cruz mary jane? We decided we had to get closer to figure it out. As we walked, a small crowd was forming on the beach, and from it emerged an awkward outdoorsman. WITH A KNIFE. I was afraid this guy was going to put the poor pelican out of his misery, and apparently so did the pelican because he turned to snap at him with his long beak, coming pretty close to getting a good chunk out of him a couple times. It was a great battle scene, man vs. bird, all the while the tide coming in and continually soaking them both. Finally the man was able to grab at the pelican’s feet and pulled up a mass of fishing line clearly secured to his leg. He cut the strings while others gathered the line, and finally the pelican walked up onto the beach, free of the break. He was too tired and too wet to fly away, so he watched paranoid as onlookers got close to see if he was injured. By the time I turned back to see how the hero was doing, he was already walking away, silent and soggy. He didn’t need to say much because a woman from the crowd had gathered the line and began to boast the tale to everyone within 20 feet of her. This was apparently her 4th pelican “rescue.” Regardless, I was pleased as pie to have witness my first. Below are some iPhone pictures of the event (sorry for bad quality, your welcome for the handsome photo in the middle).

Finally, I will tell you about the butterflies! Every year thousands of monarch butterflies migrate south to Mexico to overwinter. It just so happens that one of the stopping points along the way is Natural Bridges State Park, one block from my work! I had heard rumors that they might not come this year from several dooms-dayists in the area. I can’t remember if they said it wasĀ becauseĀ of the bad economy, global warming, or in protest of Sarah Palin’s presidential candidacy. One of those, I am sure. But, I strolled on down to the park yesterday to see if I could find any. As I walked down the wooden walkway to the eucalyptus grove where they are known to congregate, I was welcomed by about 20 monarchs flying through the air. Just as I had hoped, several hundred more were huddled on tree branches as well! A 5th grade class was in the grove with me, but not a peep was uttered as we watch the delicate little things float around or fan their wings while resting. I never would have thought butterflies had enough drive to migrate! But, more and more should come, and this weekend is the kickoff event at the park, so maybe John and I will attend and get to see the thousands!

Well, I guess that’s all you get for now on Kira’s Nature Adventure Talk. I promise to write again soon, and I hope you enjoyed the post!


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