California dreamin’

A family trip to the western United States (California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah) in 2008 included several magnificent national and state parks. Looking back, the three species I can clearly remember and be certain of identification on that trip were all marine mammals. Starting from the north Californian coast and heading south:

  1. California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus) lounging on marina boardwalks near Pier 39, San Francisco (see above)

2. Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) floating about in the waters just outside the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Otters are members of one of my favourite families of mammals, the Mustelidae (weasels, stoats, ferrets, badgers …) so it was a treat to see them both in the Aquarium up close, and then wild in the harbour.

3.Northern Elephant Seals (Mirounga angustirostris) a large herd hauled up on the beach near San Simeon. Magnificent animals but a bit pungent. With noses that size, how can they stand themselves? 🙂

Mammal watching total = 25

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