Fat Innkeeper Worms on local beaches

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Fat Inkeeper Worms usually live in burrows in the mud in Elkhorn Slough but they were recently spotted on local beaches.

Our researchers confirmed that this seems to happen every few years, always after really strong king
tides.  “They show up on area beaches.  Our best guess is that there are erosional events that collapse innkeeper burrows and sweep them out to sea.”

For more about these events check out this article from the Sanctuary:



Thanks to Christina Salvin for sending in these pictures.


Common Loon

This sighting came in from Susie Kelly.

We were kayaking on Father’s Day over the weekend and we saw what I believe is a Common Loon. Fabulous day out!


Black Skimmer


This sighting came in from Penny Palmer:

What a treat!  I was kayaking in the Slough on Wednesday of this week, May 7, 2015, and this lovely black skimmer flew past.

She added: I’ve just been looking through my photographs and have found one of the skimmer flying overhead with a small fish – and then feeding its chick on the sandbar across from Monterey Bay Kayaks.   Hopefully this will mean a few more residents in the future.


Elkhorn Tigers

Reserve Manager Dave Feliz tells all about the California Tiger Salamander found at Elkhorn Slough.



Sightings around Elkhorn Slough

A few sightings from around the Slough sent in by Tanya M.  Have a sighting you want to share?  Email it to sloughsightings@elkhornslough.org or use #sloughsightings on your favorite social network.


Exploring the Mud Flats

While the humpback whales are still delighting the masses out on the Bay, the mud flats of the Slough are putting on a show of their own with each outgoing tide.  Monterey County Weekly ran a great piece about exploring the Slough’s flats with two of our own – Research Coordinator, Kerstin Wasson and ESF’s Development and Communications Manager Scott Nichols.

Elkhorn’s wet world of vampiric feasts, horny hummers and slimy orgies. – Monterey County Weekly: 831 (Tales).


Humpback Whales!

Just off Moss Landing in the Monterey Bay, Humback Whales, Harbor Seals, California Sea Lions, Sea Otters and sea birds are putting on quite a show.

The whales are here feeding on large schools of anchovies in the Bay.  They are easily seen from shore from the jetty at the end of Jetty Road at Moss Landing State Beach or from the south side of the harbor entrance in Moss Landing.

Get out here and see these beautiful creatures!  Photos courtesy of Paul Zaretsky.

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Sandhill Crane

As of July 7th, the Sandhill Crane is still being seen at the Elkhorn Slough near Kirby Park.

This shot was taken back on June 7th during Elkhorn Slough Foundation’s spring kayak trip.

October 21- Sightings from around the slough

Sightings sent in by Stan Dryden and Jeff Hayes from 10/21/2013. They went birding in Moss Landing (Jetty Road), Moonglow Dairy, and Elkhorn Rd at and north of Strawberry Road. Approximate numbers are included. None of these species should be a surprise, with the possible exception of the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper as seen in the photo below.

Sharp-tailed SP with Least

Spotted Sandpiper 1

Golden Crowned Sparrow 1-2

Marsh Wren 1-2

Clark’s Grebe 4

Western Grebe 1-2

Say’s Phoebe 1

Pied-billed Grebe 1

Brandt’s Cormorant 50-100

American Avocet 5

Turkey Vulture 1

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper 1

European Starling 2

Herring Gull 3

Mew Gull 1

Western Meadowlark 1

House Finch 1

Tricolored Blackbird 1-2

White-crowned Sparrow 5

Brewer’s Blackbird 200-500

Rock Pigeon 50

Anna’s Hummingbird 1

Downy Woodpecker

Black Phoebe 20

American Crow 20

American Coot 20

Townsend’s Warbler 2

Collared Dove 40

Northern Shoveler 2

Ruddy Duck 3

Northern Pintail 20

Northern Harrier 1-2

Eared Grebe 30

Whimbrel 2

Willet 500

Marbled Godwit 200

Snowy Egret 1

Great Egret 1

Western Gull 500

Killdeer 3

Double-crested Cormorant 100

Mallard 50

Long-billed Dowitcher 2

Brown Pelican 200

Long-billed Curlew 2

Bufflehead 2

Belted Kingfisher 1

Least Sandpiper 25

Black-necked Stilt 5

Greater Yellowlegs 1

Lesser Yellowlegs 2

American White Pelican 4

Bewick’s Wren 1

Oak Titmouse 1 (heard not seen)

Bushtits 10

Red-tailed Hawk 2

Canada Goose?

Green Winged Teal 1

Red shouldered Hawk 1

Black bellied Plover?

Elegant Tern 20

Ring-billed Gull?

Eurasian Collared Dove 30

Rock Dove 100

House Sparrow?

Blue Footed Booby Invasion

Blue footed boobies were spotted in the Monterey Bay.

Here’s a local news story – where I spotted our favorite bird spotter and fabulous ESNERR volunteer Shirley Murphy.