Thursday, August 27, 2015

California Coast Trip - Day 4

After several amazing days in Cambria, it was time to head up the coast through Big Sur to our final destination of Pacific Grove, CA.  Since it was on our way, we decided to stop and see the elephant seals one more time.

Of course, there was still a lot of snoozing going on.
Their size is impressive, but gosh these guys are homely!
Out in the water, the younger guys battle on...

...sometimes playfully...
...and sometimes with teeth!
Farther out on the rocks, the Harbor Seals (who are MUCH cuter!) have a front row seat for the action, but give the impression that they don't know what all the fuss is about.
There was more action out in the parking lot.  This gopher snake was making its way along the path to the cars.
I think he just wanted to warm up in the sun.
I wanted to get a full length shot of him, but he was about 4 feet long so I couldn't manage it. 

I did, however, manage to catch his forked tongue flickering in and out.
I wish I could say I got lots of gorgeous pictures of the Big Sur coastline, but since I was doing all the driving, I didn't get much in the way of photos.  We did stop at a couple of the lookouts, but it was also exceedingly windy that day with lots of debris flying around so not the best conditions.  We did finally stop at a place called Nepenthe which is a combination of a couple of restaurants and shops built into the cliff side.  We enjoyed the outdoor café and I did manage to get a couple of photos:
This is the view from the patio looking south back towards the way we came.
I got really excited when I realized this was not one of the ubiquitous turkey vultures we kept seeing.  However, clearly, I suck at flight shots LOL!

I believe it's a Red-Shouldered Hawk.
This Steller's Jay was keeping an eye on our lunch leftovers as well as on the hawk circling above.

This Jay had already been into someone's lunch as evidenced by the sticky stuff on his forehead feathers.

Didn't stop him from watching our lunch, too, though.  In case we might be kind enough to leave some behind...

After several hours of driving a very windy single-lane highway up the coast, we finally arrived in Pacific Grove.  We had just enough energy left on this day to go grab dinner, get the groceries for the week and crawl into bed, but we did get a wonderful surprise as we were driving back to the rental house after dinner:
A family of the local Black-Tailed Deer were having dinner along the side of the road near the house we were staying in.  Here's momma deer enjoying some tasty ice plant.

Here's a young male.

You can see his antlers...

...but they still have velvet on them.
Here's the fawn... cute I about died on the spot... likes ice plant, too. not afraid to stick its tongue out at the Crazy Camera Lady.
And here's mom and baby together...
I know there's some blur to these (it would take me a couple of days to figure out that I'd accidentally and without realizing it changed a setting on my camera)

But even with the blur...aren't they the cutest?
Stay tuned for the next installment where we do some more rock climbing and hunt for sea otters and other critters.


Stewart M said...

Great set of shots. I happened upon an Elephant Seal on a beach in Tasmania once - I think it was sick - I mane me jump when I realised what it was!

Cheers - Stewart M - Jakarta (for a few more hours)

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

A splendid and beautifully illustrated account of a most interesting adventure!