Catch Up: Birding The Sloughs

Ok, time for some updates! I’ve been at my new place with Whit for almost two weeks and so much has happened! But lets back up to when I was still near Santa Cruz, yeah?

I had one last weekend to go birding in the surrounding areas and there was a slough/wetland I would see every time I drove the 1 (or Hwy 1, since it seems everyone in California says “The” before a highway number…heh) that I knew I had to visit, Watsonville Slough.

watsonville sloughI went with my coworker Sara and our mission was to find as many birds as possible. I looked at a birding list before I left and knew there would be a sweet variety of birds there for us to see!

Black - crowned Night heron Sloughs 035Two very gorgeous Black-crowned Night Herons.

We walked around the marsh which ended up being around 2-3 miles. It was a great walk, with lots of different birds.

Sloughs 062 Sloughs 102 Sloughs 121 Sloughs 167

One of my favorite shots from the slough. So cool with the black and red!

It didn’t take us all morning to visit this slough so we headed over to another one I had passed between my two homes! This one is much larger and apparently more popular! Elkhorn Slough has a great visitors center where I spent probably too much money, but it was worth it for my new bird guide.

elkhorn slough

We got there just as a guided tour from a docent was about to start so we figured why not?! Getting the insight from someone who knows the area is always the way to go! Our guide was actually an author who wrote a book on the California Condor conservation program and is now writing another on John Muir! So neat!

Sloughs 212 Sloughs 221He told us all about the erosion problem the slough is having and how it could easily disappear, along with all the birds, in a very short amount of time. It’s amazing how if we change one small thing about the landscape, it threatens so much more inland or around it!

Sloughs 253 Sloughs 272He also talked to us all about the different plants in the area like Coyote Bush and Pickleweed. There are several endangered plants and animals in the area too, along with a pocket-mouse and mountain lions! So neat they are both found in the wetland!

Sloughs 286

There was an abundance of poison oak in the area and as far away as I wanted to stay from it, it was certainly gorgeous to look at! Such a pretty, and itchy, red color!

Sloughs 318We spent about 3 hours at Elkhorn and made one last trip to the coast to see some of the cutest mammals on the planet: Sea Otters! Yay! There were so many of them handing out in the harbor…too bad they were so far away!

It was certainly a great day of birding and a nice way to end my last weekend in Santa Cruz!

Don’t worry, I have more birding posts ready for you…well, maybe. :) We’ll see if I keep my word…heh.

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5 Responses to Catch Up: Birding The Sloughs

  1. madeline says:

    what a wonderful trip… thanks for sharing!

  2. Your job is so awesome! I’m glad you’re finally in your new place with your kitty :-). I nominated you for a Liebster award! This post explains everything: http://pugmamastace.com/2013/08/24/fun-news-and-randomness/

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