May 07, 2015

Mother’s Day on the Bay


Mother’s Day is this Sunday. If you’re looking for something fun to do with your mom, or in her honor, why not come to Morro Bay? You can stroll along Windy Cove, explore the Embarcadero, and–if you know where to look–you might be able to catch some wild animals mothering their young. Here are your best bets:

Great blue herons and more at the rookery

Great Blue Heron pair on nest in Morro Bay
Photo courtesy of Bert Katzung,

To see great blue herons and their young, visit the heron rookery near the entrance to the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History. When you arrive, look up into the tree boughs. Herons can nest as high as 100 feet above ground, so we recommend bringing your binoculars. You’ll see both male and female herons caring for their young, which typically hatch in early May.

Come later in May, and you might also see young night herons, snowy and great egrets, and cormorants. Stop in at the museum to learn more about herons and other wildlife in and around the estuary.

Great egret flying over Morro Bay
Great egret flying over Morro Bay

Sea otters along the Embarcadero or near Target Rock

A raft of sea otters floats near shore
A raft of sea otters floats near shore

To see mother sea otters and their young, walk along the Embarcadero, or head right over to Target Rock, which is on the south side of Morro Rock near Coleman Beach. You’ll often see a raft of otters floating here near the kelp—we’ve counted as many as 13 otters at a time.

To spot mother sea otters, look for the fuzzy, often lighter-colored blobs on their stomachs–those are their babies.

Mother otters keep the babies close, nursing them, and teaching them to hunt for food, swim, and dive. They are also the only form of protection the pups have until they can fend for themselves. Check out this video of a mother and baby otter floating together in Morro Bay:

Important Tip

Remember, when you’re watching sea otters, herons, or any other wildlife, it’s important to keep your distance. If an animal raises its head to look at you, you’re too close.

Whether or not you’re able to spend Mother’s Day with your mom, we hope you’ll spend part of the day enjoying the wildlife and the waters of beautiful Morro Bay.