Tour down Elkhorn slough! *(Plus newbies!)

Hello! This week was pretty busy with shorebird surveys and getting ready for Team Ocean!!

Updates on surveys; this week was busy and full of excitement, especially in North Marsh!! A flock of semi palmated plovers flew in during Thursday’s survey, and was thrilled since it was my first time seeing semipalmated plovers since I started conducting surveys! I also saw a killdeer on Monday, and the largest flock of american avocets I have seen so far (15 pairs). There were also the usual occupants, such as black bellied plovers, willets, and marbled godwits, but these two really made my week, and can’t wait to see what else I will spot this upcoming week.

(Still getting used to taking pictures through spotting scope, but there it is! Large black band around its neck, orange legs.. semi palmated plover looking back at me! Unfortunately, my phone died before I could take a picture of the killdeer) :'(

On a different note, this past Saturday I went out with Ron (a fantastic volunteer of the Elkhorn slough) and a few other Team OCEAN members to get a tour around Elkhorn. Ron first showed us around the kayak store, showing us where equipment is, how the staff takes care of things, and telling us the difference between the kayaks available. He also noted the tide chart in the store and how important it is for us to use outside, to know the wind currents and to take into account the arm power we will have to use to paddle back. Once done, we went out in a small motorized boat through Elkhorn slough and Ron talked us through the wildlife and local fuana/flora, pointing out cormorants and sea lions, as well as giving us tips of the most common questions that kayakers might ask. We went all the way to kirby park, with Ron showing us areas such as seals bend, and areas that are off limits to kayakers, and reasons why. The day was beautiful, and we saw quite a few kayaks (around 40) when we were out on the water. One of the volunteers made mention that Europeans know more about the Elkhorn slough than Americans sometimes do, and this causes the realization that not many are aware of the wonderful and unique habitat Elkhorn slough provides.

And this is the goal of Team OCEAN; to increase awareness of the amazing habitat that surrounds us, while at the same time trying to reduce the disturbance we may cause to wildlife. Yes, it’s inevitable to not disturb all wildlife, especially with so many kayaks out at same time; but by being a conscious kayaker, we can all become aware of safe distances that we can be at, to enjoy wildlife and help preserve it as such at the same time. As we were coming back, looking at the waves, the otters and shorebirds.. can’t help but think I’m excited to soon be out in the water, educating the public on that exact issue, and leaving a ripple effect, on the visitors of Elkhorn slough and Moss Landing.

(A couple of pictures of Elkhorn slough, showing diversity of this marvelous area) 🙂

 

Marysol Alvarez
maalvarez@csumb.edu

Hello everyone!! I'm a recent CSUMB graduate and hence fresh marine scientist! I'm super excited to start this internship with EFTA and use my learned skills in real life, particularly in a field of interest!! Born in Santa Cruz, raised in Watsonville, Christian and total animal lover (particularly aquatic :), I hope you enjoy my blog as I write about this new adventure! cheers, and GOD BLESS!! ^_^/

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