This is a humpback whale, lunge feeding less than 20 yards from shore near New Brighton State Beach in Santa Cruz County. The humpbacks showed up a month or so ago, following massive schools of anchovies into the Monterey Bay. I used to get a thrill seeing far-distant spouts from the beach. NEVER did I think whales would show up a stone’s throw away.
Each summer flocks of sooty shearwaters fly low over the Monterey Bay, diving and squawking as they feed on masses of bait fish – anchovies, sardines, squid, and krill – that school just below the water’s glistening surface. You see them coming in the distance, an impressive mass a mile or more in length; thousands of birds flying low over the water forming a cacophony of feathered missiles plunging headfirst for food.
LL and I were picnicking on the deck of our quite luxurious digs at the Post Ranch Inn when this bird – a juvenile Western scrub-jay, according to my handy Sibley Field Guide – swooped down to snag a piece of baguette for himself. Check it out.
One of my Best Photos Ever, snapped on a winter’s evening at Seacliff Beach.