At the beginning of the summer, we made several excursions to Balboa Island and then took the ferry over to the peninsula, walked through the Fun Zone area and across the street to Balboa Pier and beach. Turned out to have lots of great birds so I thought I'd share a few shots from one of those days.
Brown Pelican in flight over Balboa Beach.
Okay, so, NOT birds...but you know it's a good day when the local dolphins show up!
They don't often come this close in...these were practically at the surf line.
And...once last tail wave to say good-bye and they were gone.
Back over by the harbor, this Black-Crowned Night Heron was enjoying the breeze from the top of one of the anchored yachts.
Even when the crew arrived and began prepping the boat for departure, he stayed at his perch so he must be used to all the hustle and bustle.
The only move I saw him make was over to this railing as the boat started to move.
Even when the boat started to head out towards the harbor entrance, he stayed put enjoying the breeze in his feathers. Finally, just as they were exiting the harbor and putting out to sea, he took off and flew back only to land on another boat near the slip of the one that had just departed.
As we turned to walk along the edge of the harbor and check out some of the ritzy homes with their tiny private beaches and docks, I just happened to look down at one of the small beaches (and when I say small...they're maybe 25 steps across), I came across this Great Blue Heron doing some fishing.
Actually, he wasn't so much fishing as he was playing with his food. I watched him repeatedly drop this item back into the water...
...and then scoop it right back up again.
Maybe this is the Heron version of Hot Potato?
I never did figure out what it was...looks too soft to be a crab, but was not fish-shaped, either.
My best guess was maybe a frog something softer like a sea hare.
We stopped to have dinner at our favorite local restaurant...it features an upstairs, outside balcony that is perfect for watching the boats cruise in and out of the harbor. Also...gives you a ringside seat to watch the Osprey hunting for his dinner.
It was a treat to watch him soaring overhead and diving for fish.
I did see him catch one, but he dropped it as he was climbing back into the sky. One look at those talons and you wouldn't think any fish would get away once caught, but this is not the first time I've seen an Osprey drop one. Fishing is a tough business!
Finally, as I sat in my car on the ferry back to the mainland, I was able to grab a few shots of this California Sea Lion hanging out on the back of one of the boats. Not the greatest photos because I'm shooting through my car's windshield from a moving boat.
He was getting his sunset snooze time in.
Hey, I'd sleep on a yacht if I had the chance, too!
Hope you enjoyed a brief look at the birds and other critters of the Balboa Bay area. If you're not from Southern California and are ever visiting...I highly recommend a stop here. Lots of fun things to see and do: boat rentals, fishing trips, whale/dolphin watching excursions, catch the Flyer to Catalina Island, bike up and down the boardwalk, etc. And, clearly, the ecosystem offers lots of great viewing opportunities. I'll be heading there this weekend to, hopefully, see the protected Snowy Plover habitat area. They are a threatened species that the local Audubon society and ecologists are working hard to bring back.