Sea Otters in Carmel, CA

This was the first thing I saw at the beach in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.  Ok, so it isn't exactly a new or exotic species, but since it is my very favorite bird, seeing a Great  Blue Heron on the beach was a grand omen of good things to come!

It was indeed a good omen since the very next thing I noticed was some kind of creature floating in the seaweed.  I hoped it was the creature I had come to see, the animal I was hoping would delight my son and daughter on their first trip to Carmel. Of course, it did turn out to be what I had hoped: a sea otter relaxing in a bed of kelp. 

The fact that we were looking at an otter and not at a seal seems perfectly obvious in these photos.  But it was less than obvious when looking with the naked eye or even with binoculars.  There were a lot of mammals swimming about in the kelpy waters, and some of them appeared to be seals.

I mean, tell me this doesn't look like a sleek seal's head!  But I can guarantee you this is a sea otter with his face slick with sea water.

This seal-like sea otter has managed to catch himself a tasty crab meat treat. . .

which he proceeded to enjoy with unabashed enthusiasm!

Although we stayed only a few minutes, Carmel-by-the-Sea was a cornucopia of new and wonderful sights!

Common Murres, uncommonly large Cormorants, Common Loons and even what I think must have been a Pacific Loon were among the wondrous sights we enjoyed in Carmel.

I'm not betting the farm on this being a Pacific Loon, but it very well could be one.  I think.  In any case, go to Carmel, CA if ever you get the chance to do so.  It is a truly magical place!

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