The Mamas and the Pup-Pups (California dreaming on the Monterey Bay) Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing CA 1/21/21
Last Thursday I went on my third trip with Elkhorn Slough Safari . It’s especially enjoyable at this time, because they allow fewer customers aboard the pontoon boat due to the pandemic. On this outing there were only five of us plus the captain and the naturalist (they can seat 22 in normal times). I had the back of the boat to myself where I could wield my cameras and walk port to starboard and back again as I wished. From the vantage point of the boat you can see a greater range of wildlife and birds: sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, egrets, herons, cormorants, pelicans and all manner of shore birds.
Sea otters reproduce year round so mothers and pups might be seen at anytime. Even so, sometimes there are many mothers and offspring and other times there are few. This was a trip blessed with many. As a matter of fact, it seemed that every otter that popped into view had a pup with her. Some pups were small fuzzy bundles where it was hard to tell which end was which. Most were older and getting closer to independence. Pups stay with their moms for about six months.
I highly recommend watching PBS Nature episode “Saving Otter 501” to learn about sea otters and especially orphaned ones and how they are cared for by the Monterey Bay Aquarium to return to the sea.
Enjoy the portfolio below of sea otter mother-pup portraits. Please do not reproduce photographs without permission.