Sunday afternoon in mid-October, the weather did not disappoint. We took a drive through Santa Cruz and wound our way along Cliff Drive. I had been promised a visit to the Rookery, a place where the pelicans roost. With American pelicans flying overhead in numbers greater than I ever witnessed before I knew this beach visit would be memorable.
High on the sandstone cliffs the pelicans rest, looking over the ocean, ready to take flight and stand up against the surf spraying onto their high perch.
The waves are lapping at the polished rocks on the sandy beach.
Looks like a game of “Ring Around the Rosy”… or are they fishing? A couple of fishermen in the distance seemed to have some competition.
And here is the reinforcement, or better: more competition.
I was most fascinated with the never tiring birds taking advantage of the updraft keeping them in the air soaring back and forth for hours and great distances.
Lots of action and the occasional batting of wings…
Made eye contact through my lens!
The activity on the water was “heating” up. Pelicans diving here, there, everywhere – fights over fresh fish. Mayhem!
Reminiscent of a ballet performance the birds dive, plunge and claim their space. On the other hand, this could rival a good ol’ rugby game!
A lone pelican at rest – a moment cherished and captured with the help of my camera.
Now, that is the ultimate set up. Wishful thinking and envy on my part. I bet he was making eye contact with each and every bird!
Time to check out what was at my feet in the warm sand.
Gorgeous colors and textures. Gifts from the ocean!
A muscle with Gooseneck barnacles attached, another treasure.
And seaweed and kelp never far away.
Just missed the “big one” – it was time time to look overhead and catch the mid air performance just in time.
Mesmerizing… and the perfect impression to finish our Sunday afternoon visit to the beach with. Via car we made our way to the Santa Cruz Wharf where we arrived near sundown. As soon as we disembarked the car I could hear a choir of throaty barks. We followed the call and were soon at a landing dock several steps below the pier.
The source of the noise, a raft of resting sea lions catching a few winks in the setting sun.
This one appeared completely exhausted after a day of frolicking in the ocean entertaining the tourists.
A face only a mother could love, as they saying goes. Relaxed but a little curious – his eyes opened slightly to make sure he wouldn’t miss anything worthwhile.
And here I caught his eyes opening even wider. Did I detect a smile? I wonder what caught his attention?
Could it have been the antics of this young member of the group?
Or maybe it was this little guy’s bark?
What a lovely neck you have…
One last head nod before he disappeared below the water’s surface.
Moments later we walked the Santa Cruz Wharf to find a cozy wine bar. I watched the sun setting slowly over Lighthouse Field State Park. This day will be etched in my memory forever. Pelicans, sea lions and a perfect golden sunset – what could be more perfect?