Monday, February 20, 2012

Sonoma Coast Drive - Whale Migration - 2/20/12

          After an enjoyable weekend at Salt Point State Park we reluctantly packed up camp and left the Gerstle Cove Campground behind us as we journeyed south on the ever windy Highway One and Sonoma Coast. A couple miles before Jenner we pulled off the road at a pullout with a view and proceeded to make lunch. Enjoying our sandwiches, Sarah spotted a whale off the coast. We pulled out the Binoculars and sure enough there was a pod slowly drifting north, spouting their blowholes and flipping their tales as they emerged briefly from their underwater world.

Migrating Whale off the Sonoma Coast

          A great blue heron flew by, landing in a field across the street from our pullout. It proceeded to stalk the hillside for prey.
Great Blue Heron

          The whales kept our attention for some time before we continued south to Jenner and eventually Goat Rock Beach. The Russian River spills into the ocean at the north end of the beach and the mouth of the river is habitat for a colony of harbor seals. We trudged through the sand heading north towards the dozens of seals sprawled out along the river bank. A ranger yielding a large spotting scope and tripod brisked by us in a hurry. I wondered if he was on his way to tell some of the folks to keep their distance from the seals and offer a closer look from his scope. The ranger soon broke out into a sprint which further supported my theory. I arrived expecting to find a disgruntled ranger and disappointed bystanders but my theory was all wrong from the get go. As it turns out the ranger had thought he had seen a rare type of gull from the road above and was rushing to further id the bird. He enjoyed his time with his fellow birding companions with whom he obviously had spoken with at length in times past. Talk about job perks!

In spring time seals have their pups and the mouth of the Russian River is a superb location to watch the family dynamics and sheer playfulness of the harbor seals.

Seals in the Russian River

          Sarah was disheartened at the sight of a seal pup desperately trying to keep up with its mother gone ashore as it repeatedly got washed back to sea by the barrage of incoming waves. That's not to say there were no happy reunions.

Blowing Kisses

Lazy Days

          The seals entertained us for a while before we plodded back to the car contemplating our next step. A quilt work of clouds filled the sky and I imagined a colorful sunset from blind beach with arch rock in the distance. That sunset will have to wait for another evening as we opted to slowly drive home instead. As we pulled up to the house the clouds were ablaze in a magnificent crimson, a perfect ending to another fun filled trip.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    It is a very nice site. The picture of seals are very beautiful.