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.
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!
Western Hunter, "The black-tailed deer obviously gets its name from its black tail. They are also characterized as the smallest and darkest deer of the three deer species." This guy was small and he was dark, with a very obvious black tail.