River Otters In The Pacific Ocean, Point Reyes, California, August 31, 2017 ©2017 Ben Gundy, all rights reserved.
My photography friend Jeff Bushnell and I hired guide, Daniel Dietrich of Point Reyes Safaris , for a half day safari in Point Reyes National Seashore in northern California. Both Jeff and I had a wildlife list that we gave to Daniel verbally so he could plan the half day. Daniel has seen the otters down off of Limantour Beach but nothing was guaranteed. When we arrived at the beach we did not see any river otters around so we headed along the trail to a viewing area for Elephant Seals. A little ways down the trail he mentioned for us to come over to a better viewing spot and sure enough, the river otters were out in the surf, a mother and her two pups.
Daniel explained that this family has adapted to hunting for food out in the ocean when food is not that plentiful in the fresh water streams in Point Reyes National Seashore. The mother parks the pups just beyond the surf and heads out towards floating seabirds. She dives under them, grabbing them and pulling them straight down until they drown. She brings the birds back in towards the pups and they all dine on the bird on the beach or available rocks. Daniel also noted that the family eats more than just seabirds. He has observed them eating a bat ray that the mother dragged in.
I have never seen or heard of fresh water river otters adapting to the ocean before today, a first for me. Yes, there are great whites out there and one was observed by Daniel right off the surf. Hopefully the great whites are more interested in the elephant seals than this otter family.
I will be posting additional post from our great little adventure to Point Reyes National Seashore in the coming days. I hope you enjoy the posts…
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