Seals and pelicans wait for the sun.

At least, that’s what it seemed to me they were doing. At Jenner-by-the-Sea so many Pacific Harbor Seals give birth and rear their young on the sand spits that they call it a rookery or a nursery. It’s where the Russian River opens into the Pacific along the North Coast of California, and the beach there is called Goat Rock. This photo shows them on both sides of the river, the town hidden by fog above the farthest shore.

My friend and I had made the drive to the beach pretty early in the morning, having been told by the weather people that it would be mostly sunny. It was not — but 60° and not windy is pretty good for this coastline, where beaches are not consistently sunny until August or September.

You’re not supposed to get closer than 50 feet to the seals; I think we were a little closer than that, but we stood quietly staring and none of the animals seemed to mind us or change what they were doing. The seals didn’t move much, but their various colors were interesting, and they would go in and come out of the water occasionally, or look up at us.

The pelicans were more thrilling, and even more numerous, flying back and forth or just hanging with the sea gulls and seals. But they were also harder to photograph! In the middle of the middle picture below, it’s pelicans who are forming a flotilla in the river. We didn’t see any diving to fish.

After stopping by another beach where we enjoyed some of that “mostly sun,” we took a slightly different route back inland along a narrow road where bright patches of wildflowers caught my attention, springing up through the dry grass.

rattlesnake grass

I especially noticed the leaves on the one just above, because they resembled those of the little native beach plant in my garden, Eriogonum latifolium or seaside buckwheat, that I bought at a local nursery three years ago. It has never bloomed, or even grown very much.

When I got home, I went out back to take a picture to compare, and what do you know? It is blooming right now!! And I do believe…

11 thoughts on “Seals and pelicans wait for the sun.

  1. Nature is just amazing, isn’t it! Lovely that your can visit the beach and observe the animals there. Worth the early morning start, no doubt! Meg:)


  2. Looking at the photos of the clouds and mist almost made me feel the coolness on this another very hot day.

    How nice that finally, after 3 years, your seaside Buckwheat is blooming.


  3. I love the rattlesnake grass! When Micah and I visited Texas last summer we watched pelicans dive into the ocean for fish. It was the first time I’d seen that in person. Thanks for sharing your nature time! 🙂


  4. “Seals and pelicans…” I love how that phrase rolls off my mind’s tongue. Lovely photos. I’m missing the beaches and the ocean terribly, but your photos always give me a wonderful taste of it.


  5. I really enjoyed this, because you’re writing about and showing a place where I’ve been. I still have rocks from the beach there, and cherish every one of them — although a few split last winter in the freezing temperatures. I didn’t expect that, at all.

    We had a great pelican migration through here this year. It’s the first time I’ve seen such a thing — hundreds and hundreds, or even thousands, of birds streaming along the beach in Galveston. I don’t know where they were going, and never cared enough to ask. It was enough to see them.


  6. Rattlesnake grass, blooming buckwheat, Russian river rushing under fog, lonely figures on the last sand, and so many other memorable images (lazing seals, hungry gulls, pelicans fishing . . )– what a trip! Glad to have been invited along!


    1. When I was too young to know much California geography, or obscure history, my mother told me about how as a child she loved going on vacation to a certain river that I thought she was calling “the rushin’ river,” because it never occurred to me that our state, overflowing with Spanish place names, would have anything named after Russia. And I thought it strangely childlike that she would speak of it that way.

      Liked by 2 people

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