Whales, Dolphins, Seals, Oh My! Marine Mammals on California's Central Coast

California coastal bottlenose dolphins off Avila Beach (photo by Beth Pratt)Whales and other marine mammals have been sighted recently in abundance off the Central Coast of California--specifically Avila, Pismo and Seal Beaches. Photos and videos of humpback whales surfacing and surprising boaters and kayakers have gone viral, and visitors have flocked to the area to catch a glimpse of these animals. The San Luis Obispo Tribune has an excellent article and great photos of the phenomena.

Last week I visited Pismo and Avila Beach to check out this new hotspot for marine mammals, all likely attracted by an unusual abundance of fish and krill. I didn't see any whales, but a viewing of several California coastal bottlenose dolphins certainly provided a thrill. According to my friend Bill Keener, a marine mammal scientist, there are only about 500 of these animals in the entire state!

Dolphin leaping from the water (photo by Beth Pratt)

And the adorable pelicans on the Pismo Beach Pier are not to be missed! I was captivated by these birds. 

A friendly pelican at Pismo Beach poses for the camera (photo by Beth Pratt)Resting pelicans on Pismo Beach Pier (photo by Beth Pratt)