From the National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California
Feb 20, 2013 - National Geographic Sea Bird
Following a memorable night at sea and two close sightings of sea turtles after breakfast, we slipped into La Entrada to enjoy the comforting rocky protection of Islas Santa Margarita and Magdalena. Out on the decks we began to notice the blows of California gray whales, the long distance cetacean migrators we have traveled so far to watch. This is high season in the lagoon and small groups of courting whales appeared in several directions. Mating is the main activity in this part of Magdalena Bay, and soon the newly pregnant whales will begin their long northbound journey to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas.
Our own northbound journey continued along the sandy shores of Isla Magdalena, a 60-mile-long barrier island of stark dunes alternating with red, white, and black mangroves. Low tide mudflats offered great birding— white ibis, great, snowy and reddish egrets, and great blue herons were a few of the exciting avian favorites lining the shore. We wound through the narrows of Devil’s Bend and arrived back in gray whale habitat—this time with the mothers and their month-old babies. The nursery region in the remote upper Canal de Soledad is certainly a remarkable place and we will spend the rest of our voyage right here in the birthplace of California gray whales!
Several coyotes made an appearance in the dunes, and in the beautiful late light of this exceptional afternoon we made a landing and also played among the shifting sands of Isla Magdalena.