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 shrimp with black coral

MUDLICIOUS! The seafloor provides food & habitat for animals like corals, sponges, and invertebrates that larger sea life rely on. Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary remote-samples its silt and specimens to learn about these relationships. Check out this speacial underwater habitat.

bird and seal

Welcome to Winged Wednesday! This Brandt’s cormorant isn’t offering seaweed to a sleeping sea lion, it’s building a nest! Rocky coasts are important resting and breeding areas for many year-round residents that live side by side. In fact, there are very few places with higher densities of large animals on earth! Learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Bruce Lyon, CA State Parks)

bird on rock near water

Happy Marine Life Monday! The surfbird (Aphriza virgata) winters along the west coasts of both North and South America, a range that is longer and narrower than any other North American breeding bird! During these winter months, it is usually found just above the tide line in the surf or spray zone. Its short blunt bill, golden orange at the base and black at the tip, functions as an effective tool to pry food off the rocks. (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

drawing of people

TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY: Daring, adventurous early explorers sailed the open sea and probed its fathomless depths, discovering bizarre sea life without hi-tech tools. Their example set the course that Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary's scientists still follow, with Farallones’ ACCESS and deep sea cruises. (Image Credit: NOAA Photo Library)

beach

Beach Watch-Beach 100: Located directly in the Salmon Creek watershed, North Salmon Creek beach is a beautiful spot to spend any easy day on the north coast. A parking lot provides convenient beach access to the wide swaths of sand and surf- and there is definitely surf! A NorCal favorite surf spot, you’ll find locals braving the cold and the swells. Beachside, this is a great place to soak up sun and northern views of the craggy rocks of the Sonoma Coast. This is also a fantastic place to brush up on your gull ID creekside! Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

dungeness crab

CRUSTY OLD CRABS are tenderly delicious, once you get past the shell. Dungeness crabs are a local holiday tradition, one of the state's major fisheries, and are sustainably harvested. NOAA is working with fisherfolk to reduce incidental whale entanglement in crab gear. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

striped fish on ocean floor

Happy Marine Life Monday! The stripefin ronquil (Rathbunella alleni) is a bottom dwelling fish found in the North Pacific. This long, thin fish reaches lengths of about 6 inches and is commonly found in shallow coastal waters (although it can range to deeper water as well). The male guards the eggs until they hatch into larval fish and join the other plankton of the ocean as they develop and try to survive to adulthood! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

drawing of birds

STORMY WEATHER: Ancients thought the storm-petrel boded ill. But this cool seabird seems to walk on water, like its namesake, St. Peter! Wings folded back into a V while flying low into the wind, it extends its pattering feet to the surface for stability, and “dips” for its prey. (Image Credit: NOAA Photo Library)

coast

Beach Watch-Beach 101:There are stretches of beach that are beyond where most beachcombers are willing to go, and South Salmon Creek is one of them. Bound by Horseshoe Cove and Bodega Head State Marine Conservation Area (a California Marine Protected Area), is stretch of beach in the Salmon Creek watershed that is great for solitude. This time of year, you’re likely to see wintering snowy plovers and lots of sea foam churned up from winter storms, creating a whimsical, snow-like coating on the beach. Accessed from the beach dunes, it’s a great place to spot northern harriers searching for a meal. Learn more about Beach Watch.(Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

underwater crab

SWEPT AWAY IN A TENDER EMBRACE: In winter/spring, male Dungeness crabs carry receptive females in a pre-mating embrace for several days. The males then mate with the freshly molted, soft-shelled females, who produce golden jewel-like eggs. Sweet! (Photo Credit: NOAA)

a black bird

Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Black oystercatchers don’t usually catch oysters. Instead they spend their time using that striking red bill to pry open and eat mussels and limpets along our rocky shorelines. Maybe they should be called mussel-catchers! Learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Peter Pearsall USFWS)

bird in water

Happy Marine Life Monday! The Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus) is North America’s largest shorebird reaching lengths of 20-26 inches. It has a distinct bill that is extremely long (up to 8.5 inches!), thin, and down-curved. This unique bill is great for capturing the shrimp and crabs living in deep burrows along the shore. The Long-billed Curlew is able to fly as fast as 50 miles per hour, making a quick migration in only about 2 days from their grassland breeding grounds to their wintering grounds, which include the shores of Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

a cove

Beach Watch-Beach 103: Jutting out into the Pacific Ocean, Bodega Head in Sonoma County is the perfect spot to visit right now. From January through April, migrating gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) hug the shoreline on their way to and from their breeding grounds in Mexico - and the rocky bluffs and cliffs of Bodega Head is a perfect vantage point to catch a glimpse of them. Volunteer docents from sanctuary partner, Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, are out on Bodega Head with scopes and binoculars, answering questions about the whales and their ocean home. Enjoy views of Tomales Point and the open ocean as you hike the 1.5 mile loop trail. Beach watch surveyors often spot uncommon bird sightings on this survey, including Rock Sandpipers (Calidris ptilocnemis). Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

scrabs in a net

BRAVE SOULS: Crabbers risk dangerous winter sea conditions and highly variable harvests, from biotoxins and cyclic changes, even in our bountiful sanctuary. Still, they bring these succulent beauties to our table. Learn more about our Fisherman in the Classroom Program. (Photo Credit: NOAA Fisheries)

snail shell

Happy Marine Life Monday! The blue top snail (Calliostonum ligatum) can be found in the intertidal and shallow subtidal zones from Alaska down to San Diego, California. The blue top snail reacts to potential predators by increasing its speed to 10cm/minute- fast for a snail! Best wishes for a new year filled with adventures and fun, learning and exploring your national marine sanctuaries and the creatures in them! (Photo Credit: Lynn Wilbur)

ocean coast

Beach Watch-Beach 106: If you’re looking for a spot for a holiday beach walk, look no further- Doran Beach was made for walking. Doran beach is the spit creating the northern boundary of Bodega Harbor, and is a great place to watch fishing boats come and go. Flat, smooth, and sandy, it’s sheltered in Bodega Bay. California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) can often be seen in the surf. While out exploring the spit, be sure to stop at the Rich Stallcup birding platform on the way in to check out seasonal waterfowl and shorebirds in the tidal flats and lagoon. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

painting of an albatross

TO ANCIENT MARINERS albatrosses were good luck. Sadly, to 19th & early 20th C. milliners, they made stylish hats too. In 1886 the yearly kill for N. American hats reached 5M. Today Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is an important feeding ground for three species of these protected, recovering seabirds. (Image Credit: NOAA Photo Library)

POV of a rocky coast

Beach Watch-Beach 107: Tucked into Bodega Bay, and accessed through a ravine canyon trail, Pinnacle Gulch has curiosities in every cove. At low tide, one is able hop between rocky points and outcrops, with discoveries around each corner. The small cove beaches range from steep and sandy to agate pebbles and reef tidepools. Use caution, as the tide can rise quickly against the steep hillsides. If you’re lucky enough to be there at low tide, you’re likely to see ochre sea stars (Pisaster ochraceus) and bat stars (Patiria miniata). Pinnacle Gulch is also a great place to see surfbirds (Aphriza virgata), a hard-to-ID shorebird that can be elusive on the outer coast. A short hike on the trail to the beach reveals migrating warblers in the early spring, along with the first of the wildflowers, including Douglas iris (Iris douglasiana), sticky monkey-flower (Mimulus aurantiacus), and Indian paintbrush (Castilleja affinis). Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

painting

ROUGH DAY AT SEA. Greater Farallones' sea conditions can be "lively" but our science team is up to the challenge! See cruise partnership projects. (Image Credit: NOAA Photo Library)

bird above surface of Ocean

Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Surfs up! 🏄💦 Human surfers chase the big swells that arrive on our coast every winter, and seabird surfers are right beside them. Surf Scoters can be spotted along the California coast diving through breaking surf in search of mollusks, mussels, and small fish to eat. Learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Peter Pearsall USFWS)

pebbles and sand

Happy Marine Life Monday! This week’s creature is not sand- even though that might be all you see! Speckled sanddabs (Citharichthys stigmaeus) are masters of camouflage and can virtually disappear by changing both their color and pattern to blend in with their surroundings. These flatfish feed on crustaceans, worms, clams and small fish; while doing their best to avoid their own predators. Can you spot the sanddab in this picture? (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

rocky coast

Beach Watch-Beach 110: At the tippy top of the Marin coast, just peeking out of Tomales Bay, is Dillon Beach. With less protection from Tomales Point, it grabs bigger waves, making it a reliable surf spot. For the non-surfers, it’s a wonderful place for a walk with views across the bay and out to the open sea. Walking in the late evening you may see some small, silvery fish called grunion (Leuresthes tenuis). On moonlit summer nights, the grunion will come out of the water and onto the sandy beach to spawn. Once uncommon north of Monterey Bay, they are now regulars in our northern ecosystem. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

bird on the water

Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Fun fact: You do NOT want to make a Northern Fulmar angry. They can projectile vomit stomach oil up to 6 feet to defend themselves against predators. Not only does it smell awful, it can make other birds lose their waterproof coating. Learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Sophie Webb, NOAA/ SWFSC)

Brown hydroid

Happy Marine Life Monday! The California brown hydroid (Eudendrium californicum) may look like seaweed, but this intertidal inhabitant is actually an animal! Each of the polyps has a specialized job- some are responsible for reproducing while others are responsible for collecting food. (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

Coast with sky

Beach Watch-Beach 701: In the northeastern corner of Tomales Bay, around the bend from the main fishing beach, is Brazil Beach. In a partnership with Lawson’s Landing, surveyors walk this beach where tidal wetlands meet an ocean bay seascape in its finest form. They count Virginia rails (Rallus limicola) and Wilson’s snipe (Gallinago delicata) in the reeds and migrating songbirds which inhabit the coastal scrub dunescape. In the winter, the expanse of bay from point to mainland can be filled with migrating brant (Branta bernicla), dunlin (Calidris alpina) and least sandpipers (Calidris minutilla). This special pocket of coast is an important spot for birds and pinnipeds, with abundant invertebrates found in the diverse salt marsh, shallow bay, and dune habitats. It also makes for a beautiful, quiet walk - save for the bird calls. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Gwendolyn Toney, Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

a fish next to Coral

Happy Marine Life Monday! The Manacled sculpin (Synchirus gilli) is a small fish, reaching lengths of about 2.8 inches, that can be found in bays, tidepools and kelp forests from Alaska down to southern California. The Manacled sculpin, like other sculpins, can be difficult to spot as they are masters of camouflage! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

a wetland landscape

Beach Watch-Beach 706: Tomasini Creek Ranch Beach, in Tomales Bay, is one of our ‘secret beaches’ - not because it’s private, but because it’s tucked away in its own little corner of the bay with very little visitation. Accessed through Millerton Point in Tomales Bay State Park- a low tide is required, as well as willingness to wade through shallow creeks and bay inlets. But if you have an adventurous spirit and don’t mind the challenging access, your effort pays off- especially this time of year, when Tomales Bay is full of wintering waterfowl, such as Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) and American Wigeon (Anas americana). The abundance of invertebrates and small fish bring in leopard sharks that congregate in the shallows, as well as flocks of shorebirds. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

a sea creature at the bottom of the ocean

Happy Marine Life Monday! The deep-sea sunstar (Rathbunaster californicus) is a large star (it can grow to be a foot across) with 8-22 arms. While mainly an opportunistic predator and scavenger like most stars, ROV (remotely operated vehicles) footage has shown these stars catching mobile prey such as euphausids (small crustaceans such as krill) or small fish swimming by. Most stars prey on more stationary food or at least slower moving food! (Photo Credit: Kevin L. Stierhoff, NOAA/SWFSC)

a seal

LOVE YOUR FURS, DARLING! In November, pregnant northern fur seals leave their Bering Sea breeding grounds, heading south along their Continental Shelf edge "marine superhighway," to areas off our west coast to feed, including Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary waters. (Photo Credit: Tony Orr, NOAA)

a beach

Beach Watch-Beach 114: Our third, and northernmost, survey of the Point Reyes beaches is from Kehoe Creek to Abbott’s Lagoon. A very dynamic section of coast, our surveyors have encountered everything from wrecks of Vellela vellela, to coyotes (Canis latrans) and North American river otters (Lontra canadensis). Just past the lagoon, nesting peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) make quick work of unsuspecting birds near shore, such as California gulls (Larus californicus) and eared grebes (Podiceps nigricollis). Occasionally, they fly offshore to the Farallon Islands, capturing species such as tufted puffins (Fratercula cirrhata) for their nestlings. This time of year, under cover of night, northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) fill the air as they disperse to their pelagic wintering areas just offshore. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

shark

FANGS-GIVING FEAST! Right now, white sharks are raiding our bountiful Farallones pantry, partaking of blubberlicious seal meals! We thank them for their role in balancing our ecosystem, and for their sheer majesty. @GFNMS (Photo Credit: Peter Winch, NOAA/GFNMS)

bird just below the surface

Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Cormorants are known for their superb swimming and fishing skills. Their feathers have less oil than many birds which reduces their buoyancy and aids in diving. Their webbed feet help them dart through the water to chase prey. Unlike many seabirds, cormorants are easy to see from land so keep an eye out on the shoreline for diving cormorants. Learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Curtis Wee, NOAA)

fish between 2 rocks

Happy Marine Life Monday! Canary rockfish (Sebastes pinniger) have a distinct white line running laterally along their bodies and white edges on their bottom fins. They are usually densely speckled with orange or yellow against a light cream color. They can reach lengths of about 30 inches and are known to live up to 84 years! (Photo Credit: NOAA/GFNMS)

river in grassland

Beach Watch-Beach 115: We continue our survey along Great Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore, the only National Seashore on the West Coast! This central portion (Point Reyes B) of the beach is made up of large dunes, coastal scrub, prairie habitat and a steep sandy beach that drops into large waves. Point Reyes is known as a ‘vagrant trap’, meaning birds migrating on the Pacific Flyway along the coast and coast ranges get ‘trapped’ here because of the peninsula jutting out into the water. Usually they just stay a couple of days to rest and refuel; but occasionally with overcast skies and unfavorable southeast winds (both unpreferred for migration) very uncommon birds will stick around. What this means beachside is an increase in odd sightings of not-so-common shorebirds such as the Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva), Baird’s Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii), and the Lesser Sand-Plover (Charadrius mongolus). Considered the foggiest and windiest location on the west coast, Point Reyes beaches are great places to spot wildlife taking cover while waiting for more savory conditions. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

birds walking on sand

Happy Marine Life Monday! Sanderlings (Calidris alba) are a common sight along Pacific coast beaches most months of the year. However, in the summer months, they can be found in the arctic for their breeding season. These small, pale sandpipers are usually seen in flocks near the water’s edge- chasing receding waves to search for an invertebrate snack in the wet sand before running back up the beach to avoid getting wet as the waves roll in! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

coast with waves

Beach Watch-Beach 116: The Great Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore is so great, in fact, that Beach Watch needs to survey it in three sections in order to capture the scope of it’s mightiness! It encompasses 17km of wild ocean shore and heavy surf pounding against the wide, sandy dunes. All three sections of the Great Beach are among our longest, and toughest surveys. Our surveyors have to be hardy and expect to be out there all day, sometimes with high winds and salt spray. Despite the challenging conditions, it is one of our most beautiful beaches. After a storm, the sand is compacted and easier for a walk and you can spot incredible cloud and wave displays. Old glass fishing floats occasionally wash up after a storm as well. Wildlife comes out to feed, and on this southern section (Point Reyes C - Southern Section), the small bright blue Velella velella, drift in when the wind is right, covering the dunes - and earning their name: By-the-Wind Sailors. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

two fish underwater

SHINING STEWARDS: Salmon 'walk the walk,' connecting upland streams and the sea. They bring nutrients from the ocean back up into rivers, watersheds and the wildlife community. The next generation returns the favor, in an elaborate circuit - or circle - of life. Learn more at the Salmon Soirée, November 10th. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

bird of ocean surface

Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Did you know: Common Murres are black and white like penguins 🐧 but they can fly. ✈️ They swim to great depths 🏊‍ just to catch a single fish! 🐟 They’re about the size of a football 🏈 and they can live up to 27 years!👴 Learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Patrick Sysiong NOAA GFNMS)

salmon eggs

SEEING REDD: Salmon redds are the egg nests females lay in the gravelly beds of rivers. The eggs over-winter, to hatch in spring as alevins. These hide in the gravel, then "fledge" as fry to a free-swimming life, and the sea. Learn more at the Salmon Soirée, November 10th. Credit: NMFS/NOAA

bubblegum coral

Happy Marine Life Monday! Bubblegum corals (Paragorgia arborea) are a deep-sea, cold-water coral and are generally found at depths of 650-4,200 feet! Bubblegum corals are colonies made up of tiny polyps, each containing 8 tentacles. They feed by catching plankton passing by with their tentacles and prefer areas with strong currents to keep a steady food supply flowing by! Unlike many creatures that anchor themselves to rocks, these corals anchor themselves into mud or sand. Photo Credit: NOAA/MBARI

 a fish

"TIS A WONDROUS THING ... a spawning salmon tail-flicking gravel, portending good and hearty and delicious things to come, before exiting Life. You may wait years for its promise to fulfill, but then ... ah then!” - Anony. Learn more at the Salmon Soirée, November 10th. Credit: NMFS/NOAA

 cliff edge next to shore

Beach Watch-Beach 203: Drakes Beach West is a popular spot for a sandy walk and gentle wading, but one of the most abundant beachgoers here is the northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris)! The large males, with distinctive ‘elephant’ trunks, start hauling out in late autumn to claim territory. In winter, females haul out on these sandy shores, protected by white sandstone cliffs, to give birth, feed and wean their pups. The number of seals on Drakes Beach has increased over the past few years, and occasionally the beach will be closed off to protect seals and people. Should that be the case, a walk up the path to the overlook will provide dramatic views of the estero and outer Point Reyes, and glimpses of Tule Elk (Cervus canadensis nannodes) among the coastal scrub and prairie. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

 a hagfish

HAGFISH are at their loveliest on Halloween, when they emerge from their primal mud-baths to scout for dead and dying creatures to feed on. With ancestry dating back 330 million years, don't dare diss them! Sweet dreams on Halloween! Photo Credit: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program

 a star fish

BAT STARS OOZE digestive juices over their victims and digest them where they lie! They may not fly through the night, but are formidable predators of voracious purple urchins that devastate kelp forests; another Caped Crusader! (Photo Credit: Claire Fackler, NOAA)

small fish

SWEET SURVIVAL! In spring, a salmon "alevin," its egg sac attached, hatches. These larvae can't swim freely and risk predation; even suffocation, if there's insufficient oxygen-laden sweetwater flowing over their gills. Learn more at the Salmon Soirée. (Photo Credit: U.S. Forest Service)

sea organism at the ocean floor

Happy Marine Life Monday! Spooky species aren’t just found in the deep sea, this spongy seaweed is dead man’s fingers (Codium fragile). It can be found in the mid to low intertidal attached to rocky surfaces. While native on the West Coast, dead man’s fingers was introduced to New England, where it is a problem for the shellfish industry. The seaweed attaches to the hard surfaces of the shellfish and once it grows large enough it can actually float away, carrying the shellfish along! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

black bird posing

Double-crested Cormorants are big seabirds with quirky crooked necks. Found almost always in sight of land, they'll dry their soggy feathers, wings outstretched; docks and rocks are favored hangouts. Great divers, they "fly" in hot pursuit of fish and are abundant in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary! (Photo Credit: USFWS)

river leading to ocean

Beach Watch-Beach 204: A designated Marine Wilderness Area, Drakes Estero (and it’s adjacent Beach Watch survey beach, Drakes Beach East) is a haven for wildlife. In the 7,847 acres it encompasses, only one road passes through its upper reaches, leaving the estero largely undisturbed. Brant geese (Branta bernicla) stop on their migration from Alaska to feed on the healthy eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds, while harbor seal pups (Phoca vitulina) dine on the vast quantities of mysid shrimp (Mysida). Beachside, it’s a great place for swimming and wading nearshore - but be vigilant, great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) have been spotted here! After swimming and beach strolling, check out the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center, right near the beach, for a cultural and natural history lesson about the bay and estero. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

a bird walking with wigns open

Welcome to Winged Wednesday! With its pumpkin-colored beak and dark-as-night wings, the Black Oystercatcher knows how to celebrate the season! 🎃🦇 Learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: David Ledig, BLM)

a bird walking

Happy Marine Life Monday! Willets (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus) are a large sandpiper that have distinct white wing patches, known as flash marks that are only seen when in flight. If a predator approaches a single Willet, the whole flock will take flight and the surprising display of the white flash marks startles the predator and aids the birds with their escape! Willets can be spotted foraging on mudflats, beaches, or in shallow water, probing or picking up food with their 2.5 inch long, sturdy bill. (Photo Credit: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)

a group of Orcha

Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary hosts all three North Pacific killer whale: Bigg's/transients, Southern Residents, and offshores. One species, but three different lifestyles! The latter two eat fish, but Bigg's eat other marine mammals. Kids stay with Mom all their lives - and it isn’t a “millennial” thing! (Photo Credit: NOAA)

a beach

Beach Watch-Beach 205: While very similar to it’s eastern neighbor, Limantour spit (Beach 206), Western Limantour has treasures of its own. In the upwelling shadow of Drake’s Bay, the beach is impacted by counter-clockwise bay currents, which deposit interesting wrack and oddities on the beach, such as sea stars (Pisaster and Patiria miniata) and Nuttall’s cockles (Clinocardium nutalli). There are beautiful places to hike and see wetland waterbirds adjacent to Limantour estero. In the spring, this is a popular spot for California gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) to bring their calves as the head along shore. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

an orca surfacing

Baby killer whales? NO! These diminutive speedsters with the cool black-and-white paint jobs are Dall's porpoises. They reach speeds up to 35mph, surfacing in whitewater bursts, raising "rooster-tails" in their wake. See them in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary! (Photo Credit: Sally Mizroch,NOAA/NWFSC)

a sea coral on the ocean floor

Happy Marine Life Monday! California hydrocorals (Stylaster californicus) have hard calcareous skeletons with very small polyps embedded in their skeletal pores. They can be found attached to rocky substrates at depths of 4-110 meters. These hydrocorals thrive in high current areas where plenty of plankton passes by and is available for meals- now that’s fast food! (Photo Credit: Chad King / NOAA MBNMS)

a beach

Beach Watch-Beach 206: California Quail (Callipepla californica) on the beach may sound like an unusual sight, but on the eastern spit of Estero de Limantour, it’s just another day on the marsh. The sandy outer-spit of Limantour Beach (Eastern portion) shelters inner swells, producing a thriving Pacific estuary. A visit to this special place that serves as a nursery for Dungeness Crab (Metacarcinus magister), a haul out for Harbor Seals (Phoca vitulina) and a feeding area for shorebirds, Leopard Sharks (Triakis semifasciata) and Bat Rays (Myliobatis californica), is an incredible way to spend a day in Point Reyes National Seashore. On the beach-spit side, the calm waves and wide sandy beach make this an excellent wading and walking spot within the tide line. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

ducks at a dock

Welcome to Winged Wednesday! It’s National Seafood Month and seabirds are the ultimate seafood connoisseurs. Millions of sooty shearwaters travel tens of thousands of miles for the fishy feasts found in California's bountiful offshore waters. They forage close to shore, as seen here at Capitola Wharf in our neighboring sanctuary, NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Keep an eye out on the coast! Learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive.(Photo: Jonathan Felis, USGS)

Marine Life

Happy Marine Life Monday! All dressed up and ready to go-we can all find a little Monday morning motivation from this fish! Adult treefish (Sebastes serriceps) are unique looking with distinctive bright red lips in addition to bars of black and yellow. They can be found from San Francisco south to Baja, California and are usually observed in benthic habitats, hiding in crevices or among rocky outcrops while protecting a territory. (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

Bolinas Lagoon

Beach Watch-Beach 601: Part of Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, a Ramsar Convention Wetlands of International Significance, and an Audubon Wetlands of Special Importance, Bolinas Lagoon is a true haven for many animals to rest and feed on long migrations or after time out at sea. But it doesn’t take a special piece of paper to recognize this- a simple walk around the lagoon will reveal the beauty of this important habitat. Harbor Seals (Phoca vitulina) use it as an important haul-out to rest after foraging at sea; the shallow water and abundance of invertebrates make this a significant stop on the Pacific Flyway, where at times, 35,000 shorebirds are seen during Spring and Autumn migrations. The lagoon hosts Black Rails (Laterallus jamaicensis), California Red-legged frogs (Rana draytonii); and in Spring, nesting Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) and Snowy Egrets (Egretta thula) in the Coast Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) and Douglas Firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii). Because of the sensitive ecology of the habitat, please don’t disturb the resting or feeding animals, they have long journeys ahead and behind them! Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

Semipalmated Plover

Happy Marine Life Monday! The Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) breeds in the Arctic but can be spotted along the California coast in the fall as it migrates to Baja, and again in the spring when it returns north. The term "semipalmated" refers to its partly webbed feet. These small shorebirds forage for food on beaches, tidal flats and fields where they search for insects, crustaceans and worms (as seen here) to eat!(Photo Credit: Enrique Patino, NOAA Fisheries West Coast)

White ducks and Beach

Beach Watch-Beach 213:Separated from most of North America (with an atmosphere that indeed feels that way), Bolinas Beach and adjoining Duxbury Reef sit on the the Pacific Plate on the opposite side of the San Andreas Fault. This survey is one of our longest and most rewarding- from a narrow sandy lagoon beach to a rocky reef based shoreline- volunteers dodge the tides and have documented feeding Osprey (Pandion haliaetus). Low tides that drain the lagoon and reef feed resident Snowy Egrets (Egretta thula). Duxbury is one of the largest shale reefs in North America, and a minus tide will reveal Aggregating Anemones (Anthopleura elegantissima) and various nudibranchs (Nudibranchia). As a truly isolated and quiet piece of coast, it’s important to remember to respect the landscape, atmosphere, wildlife, and people who live there. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

Penguin Colony

Welcome to Winged Wednesday! The Common Murre is a 14” tall cousin of the puffin that can live up to 27 years. As many as 20 pairs of Common Murres may occupy one square meter to incubate their eggs! Learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Roy Lowery USFWS)

Shard near Surface

There are at least sixteen known species of sharks in the sanctuary! Do you know what type of shark this is? To find out more join us for Sharktoberfest on September 29! Photo Credit: Walter Heim, NOAA/SWFSC

Ray at Ocean Floor

Happy Marine Life Monday! The longnose skate (Raja rhina) is a bottomfish and can be found from Alaska down to Baja California. The name, rhina, is derived from the word “rhinos”-greek for nose and this skate was named for its very long and pointed snout. The longnose skate dwells on the seafloor and is well camouflaged to hide both from predators and to better surprise its own prey (small fish and invertebrates).(Photo Credit: NOAA/CBNMS)

Shark in water, Near surface

Did you know that White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) can reach lengths of 21.5 feet! Find out more about sharks at Sharktoberfest, Saturday September 29th, 11am-4pm! (Photo Credit: Steven K. Webster/Monterey Bay Aquarium)

Kite and Beach

Beach Watch-Beach 214:Images of umbrellas and lifeguard stands don’t typically come to mind when thinking of our wild Northern California beaches, but Stinson beach in Marin County, part of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, lives up to that idyllic image. White sands, warm weather (sometimes), and the Pacific partly bordered by headlands; make this a picturesque place for a classic beach day. Look twice before you lay down your blanket, as Threatened Western Snowy Plovers (Charadrius nivosus nivosus), like to roost in the soft sand during the wintertime. Learn more about Beach Watch (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

Black and White Boat

On September 20, 1938, the SS Dorothy Wintermote sank in deep water off Gualala Point after it was refloated and an attempt was made to take the freighter under tow. Three days earlier the steamship, with a crew of 29, left San Francisco for Portland, Oregon, likely with plans to return with a cargo of lumber. Captain O. J. Olsen encountered fog off the coast and gave orders for the vessel’s speed to be reduced. He was about to take soundings to determine water depth when the ship struck bottom off Fish Rock, 11 miles south of Point Arena. Fish Rock had claimed many vessels over the years. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Shoshone responded to the S.O.S. sent by the stranded freighter’s radio operator, and picked up survivors in the lifeboats. The captain told the Oakland Tribune, “I never really knew before what coastguardsmen put up with and I now realize that I had never really been at sea until they took me ashore through a rough sea at Arena Cove. I even didn’t get my feet wet.” Captain Olsen was the last man to leave the ship before the Dorothy Wintermote sank. Credit: San Francisco Maritime Historical Park

Sharks Near Ocean Bottom

Leopard sharks have a gray body, white belly and black spots when they are young and living in shallow waters, but as they grow older these spots can fade. Who says a leopard can't change its spots? To find out more about the sharks living in our sanctuary, join us for Sharktoberfest - September 29th! (Photo Credit: Adam Obaza/NOAA)

eagle flying

Happy Marine Life Monday! The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is one of the largest birds in North America, with a wingspan of about 6.5 feet! This large bird of prey feeds on other birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and small mammals. One of their feeding strategies is to steal a meal from another animal. They have been known to harass other birds of prey until they drop their food or even to snatch food right from their talons! Sanctuary Explorations participants were lucky enough to see a Bald Eagle on our last excursion in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary! (Photo Credit: Crew and Officers of NOAA ship Miller Freeman)

Shark in Water

Sharktoberfest is coming! Save the Date! When: Saturday, September 29th, 2018 from 11 am to 4 pm Where: The event will take place outside of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary offices at Crissy Field. (Photo Credit: Peter Winch)

beach next to mountains

Beach Watch-Beach 219: Muir Beach is a little gem of many habitats. In autumn, follow the bridge across the restored marsh, and you may see Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexippus) roosting on migration. In winter, follow the Coastal Trail up a bluff of scrub vegetation to Muir Beach Overlook, and get sweeping views of the Pacific and catch migrating California Gray Whales (Eschrichtius robustus). This beach is the outlet for Redwood Creek, which runs down Mount Tamalpais, through Muir Woods, and out to sea at Muir Beach. This creek hosts species of incredible biodiversity, including many California threatened species; including Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), Steelhead Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus) and the California Red-Legged Frog (Rana draytonii). Foggy mornings are best for seeing wildlife, and avoiding the crowds. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA

three penguins on rock

Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Common Murres may have tuxedo colors and upright posture but they’re not related to penguins. 🐧 They’re actually members of the Alcidae family that includes the puffin and there’s one big difference: They can fly! Learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: USFWS)

star fish on coral

Happy Marine Life Monday! The giant spined star (Pisaster giganteus) is not actually giant in size. It gets its name from its pronounced, large spines which are a distinct white surrounded by a ring of blue or purple. Like other echinoderms, this star possesses a water vascular system. These water-filled tubes aid in respiration, food capture and locomotion via tube feet! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

waves on a beach

Beach Watch-Beach 223:Rodeo Beach, located in the Marin Headlands, is a unique and exhilarating California beach in many regards. Geologically, it’s comprised of pillow basalt and radiolarian chert, resulting in a unique mineral composition that creates stones of carnelian, jade, black agate, and jasper (rock collecting is prohibited on Rodeo Beach). This beach is also home to the endangered Tidewater Goby (Eucyclogobius newberryi), a small fish which burrows in the sediment of Rodeo Lagoon. The lagoon is an excellent location for birdwatching and if you walk south along the coastal trail, you can also check out the birds on Bird Island just offshore (now is the perfect time - as the famous Marin Headlands raptor migration is underway). Beachside, The Marine Mammal Center (a Sanctuary partner), often releases rehabilitated California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus) into the sea. Learn more about Beach Watch (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

duck in water

Happy Marine Life Monday! The Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) is well known for its elaborate courtship displays; they rear up on the water and rush towards each other with their long necks extended. After choosing a mate, they build a floating nest hidden among plants emerging from the shallow waters in marshes. After their chicks hatch, they ride on the backs of the parents! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

A beach shore with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

Beach Watch-Beach 230:Heading north across the Golden Gate, you reach the Kirby Cove beach survey. Coarse sand and a remote cove sheltered by craggy headlands makes this an ideal spot for viewing wildlife and ships passing in and out of Golden Gate Straights. Brandt’s Cormorants (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) flying to and from Alcatraz Island are a common sight, along with nesting Pigeon Guillemots (Cepphus columba). It’s easy to feel like you are really out at sea on this beach as you watch the ebb and flow of the tides and fog. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

A seabird leaving a guano as it flies over the water.

Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Look closely! Seabirds’ guano is nothing to pooh-pooh! Birds’ fish-packed meals turn into nutrient-packed fertilizer on land that is sometimes regarded as “white gold.” Learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Sophie Webb NOAA SWFSC)

A calico rockfish swimming.

Happy Marine Life Monday! The calico rockfish (Sebastes dallii) can be found from San Francisco, California down to Baja California, Mexico. They have a distinctive mark that looks like a "Y" and is a dark brown or red color. This marking begins below the first dorsal fin and extends up onto it. “Y” are you looking at me? (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

A rocky beach shore with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

Beach Watch-Beach 302: Baker Beach is arguably one of the most iconic beaches on the West Coast - mostly because of the dramatic view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Come for the bridge and beachwalking sand, and stay for the whales! Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), California Gray Whales (Eschrichtius robustus), Harbor Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), and Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops tursiops) have been seen in increasing numbers over the past few years. While walking, you may notice rare native wildflowers in the dunes, such as Marin Dwarf Flax (Hesperolinon congestum) and Dune Gilia (Gilia capitata ssp.chamissonis) . The serpentine cliffs create an ideal environment for these special plants to thrive. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

The Pelagic Cormorant swimming in the water with their heads out.

Happy Marine Life Monday! The Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus) appears most delicate and is the smallest of the 3 cormorants found in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary- can you name the other 2? (Hint: the other 2 species of cormorants have been featured in past Marine Life Mondays!) When in breeding plumage, the Pelagic Cormorant has a distinct white patch on its flank (as seen in this photo). (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)

A beach shore filled with big rocks.

Beach Watch-Beach 304: China Beach is a quaint cove in San Francisco with a storied past. The marker at the trailhead leading down to the beach steps states: “Since gold rush times, this cove was used as a campsite by many of the Chinese fishermen who worked in and around San Francisco Bay. Their efforts to supply the needs of a young city helped establish one of the area's most important industries and traditions.” The surf at China Beach is calmer than Ocean Beach or Baker Beach, making it popular with swimmers, but pay attention to surf warnings and rip currents. If you do decide take a dip, you may briefly see the elusive Harbor Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), whose numbers have been increasing in the area after a long absence. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

A Cormorant stretching out its wings while it stands on a rock.

Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Seabirds enjoy summer sunshine--but they’re not trying to get a tan! Cormorants bask in the sun to dry their wings because their feathers are not waterproof and have less oil which reduces their buoyancy. This feature makes them excellent swimmers and divers and perfectly suited to hunt underwater for fish. Learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: USFWS)

A fish facing the camera.

Don't look so worried! You have until tomorrow to enter the Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest! (Photo Credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2017 American Samoa)

The kelp crab crawling on eelgrass beds

Happy Marine Life Monday! The graceful kelp crab (Pugettia gracilis) can be found along rocky shorelines and in eelgrass beds from Alaska down to Monterey, California. Its carapace, or shell, can reach lengths of about 2 inches and has distinct rows of small hooks. It can attach algae, eelgrass or even other organisms onto these carapace hooks for camouflage! (Photo Credit: NOAA/NERR)

A person drinking a beverage. There's a sailboat behind them.

Sanctuary Saturday: Located in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is of great importance to Native Hawaiians. Significant cultural sites are found on the islands of Nihoa and Mokumanamana. Though the monument is closed to the general public, you can learn about the culture and nature it protects at the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center. (Photo: Jamie Makasobe)

A rocky shore with a bridge in the background.

Beach Watch-Beach 306: The Lands End survey is technically considered an urban beach, located in San Francisco, but it’s one of the best places in the city to escape to some wild coastline. Some other wild visitors you might see are Pigeon Guillemots (Cepphus columba) which nest on Hermit Rock, just off the beach. This is also the rock preferred by the occasional Parakeet Auklet (Aethia psittacula), a rare visitor to the area. A rugged coastal trail extends down to the beach through the cypress and willow forest, offering great views of wildlife migrating in and out of the bay, including the occasional Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)! Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

A close up shot of an unnamed specie.

WHAT IN THE WORLD IS IT? Can you do better? Enter the Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest! (Photo Credit: NOAA/NMFS/PIFSC/ARMS)

The C-O Turbot lying on sandy sea floor as a camouflage.

Happy Marine Life Monday! The C-O Turbot, also called the C-O sole (Pleuronichthys coenosus) gets its name from the distinct markings on its caudal (tail) fin which resemble the letter C and the letter O. This flatfish is a master of camouflage and lies in wait, on sandy or muddy sea floors, to ambush its prey. Now you see me, now you don't! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart / NOAA MBNMS)

Several fish swimming through the coral reef.

Sanctuary Saturday: Travel to an undersea paradise in National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa! This remote sanctuary protects an enormous variety of coral and other marine species. The quarter-mile Fagatele Bay alone is home to nearly 170 species of coral! Learn about visiting. (Photo: Greg McFall/NOAA)

California road sign. The ocean is visible down below.

Get into Your Sanctuary Weekend is here! How are you celebrating? If you are still looking for an exciting adventure in your sanctuary, check out the new Get Into Your Sanctuary Storymap!

A seagull standing by the beach with waves in the background.

Beach Watch-Beach 308:The northernmost section of Ocean Beach is it’s own survey. Adjacent to Golden Gate Park and popular for beach bonfires, this beach is a scenic and nostalgic part of the city. A walkway built in the early 1900s follows the seawall along the beach, providing views of the Pacific and roosting cormorants on the nearby rocks. This urban beach is the perfect place to enjoy mild weather in August and September, and watch giant flocks of Sooty Shearwaters (Ardenna grisea) as they migrate thousands of miles to their nesting grounds in New Zealand. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

A person with a Virtual Reality headset.

Dive into your sanctuaries! Stop by the Greater Farallones Visitor Center to take a virtual reality dive into the sanctuaries. August 4 & 5, 10am-4pm. Free! No reservation required. Immerse yourself in the ocean and your national marine sanctuaries without getting wet! These virtual reality voyages use 360-degree images to highlight the amazing habitats, animals, and cultural resources you can find in each national marine sanctuary. Learn more about all of our Get Into Your Sanctuary activities.

A person holding a Pigeon Guillemot chick.

Welcome to Winged Wednesday!What is this adorable puffball? A Pigeon Guillemot chick! After being fed by both parents for a little over a month these chicks leave the nest and flutter out to sea. Just a few weeks later, they are expert flyers. Learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Alcatraz NPS)

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7/31/18 - WHAT IN THE WORLD IS IT? Can you do better? Enter the Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest! go.usa.gov/xQdMn (Photo Credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2015 Hohonu Moana)

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7/30/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The feather-duster worm (Serpula columbiana) lives inside a calcareous tube that it builds by secreting calcium from a pair of glands. It can be found in the intertidal down to depths of 100 meters. This worm filter feeds by extending its feather-like structures which are clearly seen here! (Photo Credit: Pete Naylor, REEF)

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7/28/18 - Sanctuary Saturday: Whale, whale, whale...looks like the perfect time to start planning your whale watching adventure in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary! Every winter, thousands of humpback whales make their way to these warm waters around the Hawaiian Islands to mate, give birth, and care for their newborn calves. Learn about whale watching opportunities in the sanctuary at hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/explore/whale_watching.html. (Photo: NOAA)

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7/27/18 - Beach Watch-Beach 309:Ocean Beach, the central portion of which is it's own Beach Watch segment, is a wild beach with an urban backing. Fog and frigid seas from oceanic upwelling creates a dreamy landscape for chilly summer beach walks, shark and skate egg cases are often found in the beach wrack, along with over-wintering Threatened Western Snowy Plovers (Charadrius nivosus).  With a wide expanse of the Pacific out to the horizon, it's one of the best surf spots in Northern California, but unless you know what you're doing, don't go in the water - the rips are extremely dangerous. To learn more about Beach Watch: farallones.noaa.gov/science/beachwatch.html  (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

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7/26/18 - Raise a hand (or fin!) if you want to go whale watching! Plan a "Get Into Your Sanctuary" whale watching adventure in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary on August 4th or 5th. For more information: http://farallones.noaa.gov/education/specialevents.html (Photo Credit: Ed Lyman/NOAA Permit #15240)

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7/24/18 - WHAT IN THE WORLD IS IT? Can you do better? Enter the Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest! go.usa.gov/xQdMn (Photo Credit: Matt Wilson/Jay Clark, NOAA NMFS AFSC)

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7/23/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus) is found in all the world's oceans, but is only known to breed in the Southern Hemisphere.This pelagic (living in the open sea) bird only comes ashore to breed. It forages with two strategies: 1. shallow dives from the ocean surface or  2. plunging dives from flight. During these plunging dives shearwaters have been known to dive more than 200 feet deep! (Photo Credit: Sophie Webb, NOAA/SWFSC)

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7/21/18 - Sanctuary Saturday: Get ready for adventure! From kayaking to wildlife watching, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary has something for everyone, from young to old. Learn how to get there and what to do at channelislands.noaa.gov/visit/. (Photo: Claire Fackler/NOAA)

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7/20/18 - Beach Watch-Beach 311: Thornton Beach North is better known to land-lubbers as Fort Funston, a beautiful cliff-backed beach with native dune vegetation which is popular with dog walkers. It's the San Francisco peninsula's largest remaining dune field. The sandstone cliffs to which these dunes contribute are critical habitat for Bank Swallows (Riparia riparia), and this is one of their last two remaining coastal nesting sites (the other is Año Nuevo, also a Beach Watch segment). Native plant enthusiasts will be treated to Seaside Buckwheat (Erigonum latifolum) and Chamisso Bush Lupine (Lupinus chamissonis) on the steep walk down the sand steps. To learn more about Beach Watch: farallones.noaa.gov/science/beachwatch.html  (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

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7/19/18 - Don't feel crabby, we still have spaces available in the Crab Family workshops on Saturday August 4th! 10:00-11:30am or 1:00-2:30pm. Attention all creative crustaceans! It's Get Into Your Sanctuary Day so prepare your claws and carapaces for a family event devoted entirely to crabs! Learn about crab anatomy with our crab dress-up costume. Look and touch real live shore crabs and sand crabs. Use crab traps to fish for rock and Dungeness crabs off of our classroom pier. (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)

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7/18/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Coming in for a landing! Have you spotted any Brown Pelicans diving for food off the coast this month? They're passing through the Bay Area on their northward migration from Southern California and Mexico and following the anchovies and sardines as they go. To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive, visit http://farallones.noaa.gov/eco/seabird/ (Photo: NOAA Ship Fairweather)

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7/17/18 - WHAT IN THE WORLD IS IT? Can you do better? Enter the Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest! go.usa.gov/xQdMn (Photo Credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2015 Hohonu Moana)

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7/16/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The one-spot fringehead (Neoclinus uninotatus) is a very territorial fish that is usually found hiding inside rocky crevices or even man-made items; such as bottles or tires that have ended up in the ocean. Females lay eggs, at which time the male takes over and guards them until they hatch!

(Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

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7/14/18 - Sanctuary Saturday: Orca-strate some adventure this summer with a visit to Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary! Known as the Serengeti of the Sea, this West Coast national marine sanctuary is home to a dazzling array of wildlife. Here, you'll find 36 species of marine mammals, more than 180 species of birds, 525 species of fish, and more! Explore things to do and places to go at montereybay.noaa.gov/visitor/explore.html. (Photo: Douglas Croft)

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7/13/18 - Beach Watch-Beach 315:
You can spot fishermen pull in salmon and striped bass, along with a variety of other ocean species such as surfperch and jacksmelt at the Pacifica Municipal Pier at Sharp Park. On the beach, early risers may see large flocks of Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) doing their share of fishing as well. In the mood for a hike? Continue south to Mori Point where several trails lead from the beach up to the ridge at the summit, offering wonderful views of the area.

To learn more about Beach Watch: farallones.noaa.gov/science/beachwatch.html  (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

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7/12/18 - Kayaks are a great way to explore your national marine sanctuaries! Plan a “Get Into Your Sanctuary” Day paddle adventure in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. For more information:sanctuaries.noaa.gov/visit/giys.html (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)

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7/10/18 - WHAT IN THE WORLD IS IT? Can you do better? Enter the Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest! go.usa.gov/xQdMn (Photo Credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2015 Hohonu Moana)

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7/9/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Heermann's Gull (Larus heermanni) is a medium sized and can be differentiated from other gulls by its bright red bill and dark coloration. It can be seen harassing other birds to make them drop food, especially the Brown Pelican. There are several names for a group of gulls: a flotilla, gullery, screech, scavenging, or squabble of gulls. Which is your favorite? (Photo Credit: Sophie Webb, NOAA/SWFSC)

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7/7/18 - Sanctuary Saturday: This week we explore our own backyard- what marvels will you discover in the tidepools of Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary? The rocky coasts of Northern California are home to all sorts of critters, from sea stars to hermit crabs. They're the perfect place to introduce a young ocean enthusiast to the sea! Learn about visiting the sanctuary at farallones.noaa.gov/visit/. (Photo: Sara Heintzelman/NOAA)

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7/6/18 - Beach Watch-Beach 327: Looking for a uncrowded surf break? Montara State Beach is your spot! Located in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on the San Mateo coast, Montara is a scenic spot for intermediate surfers looking to get away from the more crowded beaches. Non-surfers can enjoy a hike at Montara mountain (also known as McNee Ranch) with trails leading up from the beach.The mountain is a northern spur of the Santa Cruz Mountains and features the only undisturbed Coastal Mountain Habitat found over 100 miles of coastline. Hikers are rewarded with views of Point Montara lighthouse, tucked into the hills.  To learn more about Beach Watch: farallones.noaa.gov/science/beachwatch.html  (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

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7/5/18 - "Get into Your Sanctuary" by exploring the amazing intertidal habitat at the edge of the sea! Search for chitons, anemones, sea stars, sea urchins, nudibranchs and the many other creatures that can be found in tidepools. Don't forget to check the tides and practice good ocean etiquette: sanctuaries.noaa.gov/protect/oceanetiquette.html (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, GFNMS/NOAA)

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7/4/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Happy Fourth of July from these two Pigeon Guillemots! To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive, visit http://farallones.noaa.gov/eco/seabird/ (Photo: Roy Lowe, USFWS)

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7/3/18 - WHAT IN THE WORLD IS IT? Can you do better? Enter the Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest! go.usa.gov/xQdMn (Photo Credit: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas, Leg 3)

Greenspotted rockfish

7/2/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Greenspotted rockfish (Sebastes chlorostictus) have a yellow pink coloring with distinct green spots over the back and top of their heads. They can be found from Washington to Baja in rocky reef habitats at depths ranging from 160 to 660 feet. (Photo Credit: Kevin L. Stierhoff, NOAA/SWFSC)

bird flying

6/30/18 - Sanctuary Saturday: This week we travel to birdwatcher's paradise- Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Food-rich waters make it a major feeding destination for thousands of local and highly migratory seabirds. Nearly 70 bird species have been observed in the sanctuary, including birds like this tufted puffin! Learn about visiting this California sanctuary at cordellbank.noaa.gov/visit/. (Photo: Sophie Webb/NOAA)

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

6/29/18 - Beach Watch- Beach 334, 333, 332, 331: If you're in search of a great spot for tidepooling, search no further. This string of Beach Watch segments in NOAA's Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. Best visited at a +1.0 tide or lower, the reserve is a special place where you can see different ocean biomes. Look closely and watch patiently; the longer you spend in one spot, the more you begin to see. Spot intertidal critters including chitons, anemones, sea stars, sea urchins, and nudibranchs- just to name a few! To learn more about Beach Watch.  (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

child and adult looking out at the sea

6/28/18 - With 36 marine mammal species, over a quarter-million breeding seabirds, and extraordinarily diverse and productive marine ecosystems that support marine life- wildlife viewing is a great way to "Get into Your Sanctuary" in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Check out our guidelines on good ocean etiquette before you go.  (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, GFNMS/NOAA)

zooplankton and a crustacean

6/26/18 - WHAT IN THE WORLD IS IT? Can you do better? Enter the Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest! go.usa.gov/xQdMn (Photo Credit: Matt Wilson/Jay Clark, NOAA NMFS AFSC)

duck swimming

6/25/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Common Loon (Gavia immer) is well known for its eerie call and males have a distinct black-and-white checkered pattern on their back during the summer breeding season. Designed for a life on the water (they only come ashore to mate and incubate eggs), its legs are placed far back on its body- efficient for swimming, but leading to awkward movement on land! (Photo Credit: Steve Choy, NOAA/MBNMS)

otter and pup swimming

6/23/18 - Sanctuary Saturday: Looking for the chance to view some otterly adorable wildlife? You otter visit Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary! Wildlife watching opportunities abound in this sanctuary, both from shore and on sea. Twenty-nine species of marine mammals visit sanctuary waters, and more than a million seabirds, waterfowl, and shorebirds travel through the sanctuary during annual migrations. Learn how to visit this jewel of the Pacific Northwest at olympiccoast.noaa.gov/visitor/. (Photo: NOAA)

flock of bird on a rock in the sea

6/22/18 - Beach Watch- Beach 335: Pillar Point beach, in the northern Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, is home of the famous Mavericks big wave surfing contest. While the waves break further from shore, there is lots of fun to be had closer in! Pillar Point marsh is just east of the beach and is a great place for spotting herons and rails. If you're lucky, you might just catch a glimpse of the Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus), an anomalous east-coast migrant. This rare bird has taken up residence on the north-central California coast, and is occasionally seen at the harbor and nearshore rocks. To learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Jack Sutton, Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

people walking on the beach at sunset

6/21/18 - "Get into Your Sanctuary" by exploring the many habitats of Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary! You never know what treasures you might find on your adventures. (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, GFNMS/NOAA)

Speckled California Gull chicks in a nest

6/20/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! It's baby bird season! Speckled California Gull chicks hatch from splotchy eggs like these ones. Spots and speckles aren't just for style, they help camouflage eggs and chicks from predators. To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Susan Euing USFWS)

glass sponge

6/19/18 - WHAT IN THE WORLD IS IT? Can you do better? Enter the Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest! go.usa.gov/xQdMn (Photo Credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research)

Fern hydroids

6/18/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Fern hydroids (Abietinaria sp.) may look like a small plant, but they are actually an animal!  These cnidarians are related to anemones, jellies and corals; and like the other members of their phylum, hydroids have specialized cells (cnidocytes) that help them catch prey. (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

diver examining a shipwreck

6/16/18 - Sanctuary Saturday: This week we travel back in time to experience the rich history of Monitor National Marine Sanctuary! This sanctuary was the first national marine sanctuary ever designated in the United States, and protects the historic Civil War-era ironclad USS Monitor. Monitor can be visited by experienced technical divers with a (free!) permit. Looking for a recreational dive? Sanctuary archaeologists have surveyed many wrecks in the Graveyard of the Atlantic that are easily diveable by recreational divers. Check out http://monitor.noaa.gov/shipwrecks to learn more! (Photo: NOAA)

Half Moon Bay State Beach

6/15/18 - Beach Watch- Beach 403: Naples Beach, part of Half Moon Bay State Beach and located in the northern portion of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, gets its name from the creek that flows through it to the sea. When the winter tides are low and sand erosion is at its peak, historic pier pilings reveal themselves up the beach. They are from the pier of Amesport Landing, which was a whaling port from the days of close-to shore, rowboat whaling.  As you follow the pilings, you're likely to see Harbor Seals (Phoca vitulina) and Surf Scoters (Melanitta perspicillata) ducking in and out of the waves. To learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

Paddleboarder in the water

6/14/18 - Paddleboarding is a fun way to "Get into Your Sanctuary"! There are great spots to paddle in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary- from esteros and bays to the open ocean. Always check the tides and weather conditions before you go! (Photo Credit: Matt McIntosh, NOAA)

brisingid seastar

6/12/18 - WHAT IN THE WORLD IS IT? Can you do better? Enter the Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest! go.usa.gov/xQdMn (Photo Credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2017 Laulima O Ka Moana)

pink footed shearwater on the surface of the water

6/11/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Pink-footed Shearwater (Puffinus creatopus) is the largest of the shearwaters seen off the Pacific coast. They are named for the pale pink color of their feet and at the base of their bills. They breed on 3 islands off the coast of Chile and can be spotted in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, where they come to feed, during summer months. (Photo Credit: Sophie Webb, NOAA/SWFSC)

manata ray swimming by a diver

6/9/18 - Sanctuary Saturday: This week we travel to NOAA's Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, where your adventure is manta be! You might not think that thriving coral reefs live just off the coast of Texas, but they do -- this sanctuary protects some of the healthiest coral reefs in the world. Learn how to visit this underwater marvel at flowergarden.noaa.gov/visiting/visit.html. (Photo: NOAA)

rainbow on the coast of Half Moon Bay State Beach

6/8/18 - Beach Watch- Beach 405: Francis Beach is part of Half Moon Bay State Beach in San Mateo County and is the most frequently visited beach in Half Moon Bay! With year-round lifeguards, a visitor center, picnic tables, and camping, it's a great spot for beginning surfers and families. Located in the northern portion of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the beach is also a nesting area for the Threatened Western Snowy Plover. At Francis State Beach, plovers are protected in fenced areas along the bluffs to keep the nesting areas free from human and animal activity to allow for successful breeding. Be sure to share the dunes with the plovers when visiting, and give them a wide berth. To learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

people cleaning up marine debris on the beach

6/7/18 - Beachcombing (and picking up any trash you find while you're at it) is a great way to "Get into Your Sanctuary"! What is the most unusual thing you've found on a beach in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary? (Photo Credit: Kate Bimrose, NOAA/GFNMS)

common murres on the beach

6/6/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! As we approach Father's day we're celebrating seabird dads. Common Murre dads stay with their chicks for a month after they hatch. When the time is right, dad swims below the cliff and calls out. The chick then hurls itself off a 1,000 foot cliff into the ocean. That's one bold way to learn how to fly! To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: OCNMS NOAA)

close up view fish eggs

6/5/18 - WHAT IN THE WORLD IS IT? Can you do better? Enter the Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest! go.usa.gov/xQdMn (Photo Credit: Matt Wilson/Jay Clark, NOAA NMFS AFSC)

Bocaccio swimming

6/4/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Bocaccio (Sebastes paucispinis) have a protruding lower jaw, which helps differentiate them from other rockfish. They can reach lengths of about 3 feet and weigh 21 pounds. It is thought that they can live for up to 50 years! (Photo Credit: Dave Murfin, NOAA)

snorkelers swimming over a shipwreck

6/2/18 - Sanctuary Saturday: This week we travel to Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary! You don't have to be a diver to enjoy shipwrecks, this Great Lakes sanctuary protects more than 100 known shipwrecks, and many of those are shallow enough to be visited by snorkelers and kayakers. This is the wreck of the two-masted schooner Portland, which sank nearly 150 years ago and now rests in six feet of water. Learn about the shipwrecks of Thunder Bay. (Photo: David J. Ruck/NOAA)

Cowell Ranch Beach

6/1/18 - Beach Watch-Beach 407: Cowell Ranch Beach is unique in that there is no paved parking lot, so accessing the beach feels remote and tranquil. It's a wonderful example of a conservation win; through a public-private partnership between the Peninsula Open Space Trust, California Coastal Conservancy, California State Parks, and local ranchers. Walk down a plant lined trail, backed by fields of brussels sprouts, artichokes, and pumpkins, to the staircase that will lead you to the beach. Enjoy the quiet and beautiful views, and remember to bring your binoculars to view the harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) haul out and breeding site. Note: this portion of the beach is closed February - June in order to not disturb pups, but you can view from a safe distance. To learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

person holding a bottle with notes in it

5/4/18 - Beach Watch-Beach 503: Gazos Creek Beach is rich in wildlife and history. The coastal bluffs are a stopover for migrating sparrows, and lead you to the beach where giant green anemones (Anthopleura xanthogrammica), black oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani), and nudibranchs (Nudibranchia) are equally at home in the tidepools. This beach also has a heavy dose of lore - our surveyors have found a message in a bottle here! It also offers views of Pigeon Point Lighthouse, named for the ship Carrier Pigeon, which wrecked 500 feet offshore of Gazos in 1853. Learn more about Beach Watch. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

two baby turtles on the beach next to each other

5/5/18 - Psst! Did you know that there is a whole system of national marine sanctuaries and monuments? How many of them can you name? We'll be traveling through the sanctuaries and monuments over the coming weeks, stay tuned! Photo Credit: Mark Sullivan/NOAA Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

Señoritas swimming through a kelp forest

5/7/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Señoritas (Oxyjulis californica) are a small wrasse, reaching lengths of up to 10 inches. Their protruding teeth help them pick the bryozoans and hydroids that they feed on off of algae. Feeding by day, señoritas burrow in sandy bottom sediment with only their heads exposed for the night. Sleep tight! (Photo Credit: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)

Wisdom a Laysan Albatross with her chick on the beach surrounded by other Laysan Albatross

5/9/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! This Mother's Day we celebrate our favorite seabird mom, Wisdom. This Laysan Albatross has successfully raised 30-36 chicks and at 67 years old she welcomed her newest chick in February. Albatrosses like Wisdom sometimes travel across the Pacific during the summer months to feed and bring food to their young. That's some impressive parenting! (Photo: Kiah Walker, USFWS)

kind on a pier looking through binoculars

5/10/18 - Birding is just one of many ways to "Get into Your Sanctuary" and enjoy Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary! What is the most interesting bird you've spotted? (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)

beach covered in rocks

5/11/18 - Beach Watch-Beach 420: Pebble Beach is perfect for the geology lover and treasure hunter. Located on a stretch of the San Mateo coast dominated by marine-terracing, the beach is regularly filled with pebbles of jade, chert, agate, jasper, and moonstone (collecting is prohibited). The pebbles are backed by cliffs crusted with Tafoni- a honeycomb weathering process when salt air hits sandstone. There is an accessible nature trail and tidepools featuring Sunburst Anemones (Anthopleura sola) and sea urchins (Echinoidea). (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

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5/12/18 - Sanctuary Saturday: This week we travel to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and leap into adventure! Home to humpback whales, dolphins, and more, this sanctuary is one of the world's premiere whale watching destinations. Learn how to visit at stellwagen.noaa.gov/visit/(Photo: Elliott Hazen/NOAA, under NOAA Fisheries Permit #14245)

a Cassin's Auklet resting on some rocks

5/14/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Cassin's Auklet (Ptychoramphus aleuticus) is a small, gray seabird with a distinct white spot above its eye. They breed on islands, including the Farallones, where they nest in rock crevices and build burrows by digging with their sharp nails! (Photo Credit: NPS)

people walking in a line along the coast

5/17/18 - Hiking along the coast is a great way to "Get into Your Sanctuary"! What is your favorite hiking spot near Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary? (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)

a large number of birds on the beach

5/18/18 - Beach Watch-Beach 417: For bird-watching, Pescadero Beach has it all. One of of the best examples of a large dune beach with stands of native plants, the diverse landscape also includes rocky shoreline and a wetland marsh. It is a major stopover on the Pacific Flyway and a crucial rest area between San Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay. Surfbirds (Aphriza virgata) and Red Knots (Calidris canutus) are often seen on the rocks; and birds that are considered rarities for San Mateo County are reliably seen here during migration - Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria), Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor), and Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva). Making this location even more special, are Marbled Murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus). A threatened species, these birds nest inland of Pescadero in old growth redwoods, and forage at sea where they can be seen with a spotting scope just past the surf. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

a couple holding hands while snorkeling

5/19/18 - Sanctuary Saturday: This week we travel to Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary! Looking for a magical place to snorkel or dive? Look no further! The reefs of the Florida Keys sustain one of the most diverse communities of underwater plants and animals in North America. By booking a tour with a Blue Star operator, you can help promote sustainable diving and snorkeling practices and reduce your impact on these special reefs. Learn more at floridakeys.noaa.gov/onthewater/bluestar.html. (Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA)

a rose anemone feeding on a bat star

5/21/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Is your Monday morning off to a rough start? Look on the bright side, you aren't this bat star! The white spotted rose anemone (Urticina lofotensis) has a distinct red column with white spots and grows to have a diameter up to 4 inches and a height up to 6 inches. It feeds mostly by catching small prey with its tentacles, although this one was ambitious with its choice of prey! (Photo Credit: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)

two pelicans sitting on rocks with there beaks open

5/23/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Did you know a pelican's throat pouch is called a gular? The gular on this California Brown Pelican can hold more than it's entire stomach! That's because they use it to scoop fish out of the ocean like a net. All that water? It drains out and the pelican then swallows the fish whole. (Photo: Peter Pearsall, USFWS)

a family walking into the ocean with their surf boards in two

5/24/18 - Surfing is a fun way to "Get into Your Sanctuary"! There are many good surf spots in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, but always check ocean conditions before you go! (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)

waves hitting the beach along a rocky shoreline

5/25/18 - Beach Watch-Beach 414: Pomponio State Beach is one of the loveliest beach-walking beaches along the coast. High sandstone cliffs and a gentle sandy beach makes avoiding the crowds easy as you walk in either direction from the small lagoon. Walking on the cliff trails is worthwhile as well, as it's a perfect vista during the California Gray Whale (Eschrictius robustus) migration. Steeped in local legend, the beach is named for José Pomponio Lupugeym, a Coast Miwok resistance leader. (Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA)

a pair of Black sea bass swimming above a reef with my smaller fish swimming around them

5/26/18 - Sanctuary Saturday: This week we travel to Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary where it's all about that bass! Located off the coast of Georgia, there are excellent opportunities for anglers, boaters, and divers. Black sea bass like these are among the fish that can be sustainably fished here. Learn more: sanctuaries.noaa.gov/visit/fishing.html. Photo: Greg McFall/NOAA

a Double Crested Cormorant

5/28/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Double Crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) develops unique tufts as a part of its breeding plumage. It appears similar to other species of cormorants, but can be differentiated by its neck which is distinctively kinked when the bird is in flight and its longer and more pointed wings. Can you name the 2 other types of cormorants found in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary? (Photo Credit: P. Baxter, NPS)

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5/29/18 - WHAT IN THE WORLD IS IT? Can you do better? Enter the Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest! (Photo Credit: NOAA/NMFS/PIFSC/ARMS)

people fishing of a rocky coastal area

5/31/18 - Fishing is another way to "Get into Your Sanctuary"! What is the most unusual thing you have caught while fishing in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary? Learn more about fishing in your national marine sanctuaries: sanctuaries.noaa.gov/visit/fishing.html  (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)

Pied-billed Grebe swimming

4/30/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) is a small, solitary and secretive grebe. They have the ability to sink gradually- which they do by changing their buoyancy as they expel air from between their feathers and body as well as from air sacs- and disappear from sight. While Pied-billed Grebe is generally used as their common name, they are also known as: dabchick, devil-diver, dive-dapper, hell-diver, and water witch. Which common name is your favorite? (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

northern elephant seal resting on the beach

4/27_18_Beach Watch-Beach 506: Año Nuevo State Park in San Mateo County is a wonderful part of the Beach Watch Program, and a longtime sanctuary partner in ecosystem protection. Every year, 10,000 northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) return to Año Nuevo Island and the sandy mainland to breed, have pups and molt. Being on a major migratory bird route, the mix of coastal scrub and prairie, wetlands, and dune beach habitat make this a great birding destination as well. You may also see a steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) peek out of the offshore rocks, as the park is at the southern end of it's range.Note: Most of the year, the sandy beach is accessible only through an Elephant Seal Viewing tour. You can learn more through the Año Nuevo State Park. Learn more about Beach Watch. Photo credits: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA

albatross swimming with a shark about to take a bite from behind

4/27/18 - Albatross Trivia: What type of shark is a top predator for albatrosses? (Hint- this amazing photo from Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument should tip you off!) Fledgling albatrosses can be an easy target on the ocean’s surface. In some areas, this predatory fish may be responsible for taking out 10 percent of chicks reared each year! Photo by: Ilana Nimz/NOAA Fisheries Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program

a pair of Brandt's Cormorant on rocks. one is showing off his gular pouch

4/25/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! What's up? This Brandt's Cormorant isn't checking the weather, he's showing off his gular pouch. The brilliant blue color attracts female mates during breeding season. Keep an eye out on the rocky cliffs of the coast because this mating display is going on right now! (Photo: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)

close up view of a lobed compound tunicate on the bottom of the ocean

4/23/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The lobed compound tunicate (Cystodytes lobatus) is a marine invertebrate; but surprisingly tunicates are more closely related to vertebrates (like humans!) than to most other invertebrate animals. This is due to a notochord (a flexible rod) and nerve cord tunicates have during their early development. (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

a gray whale cow and calf barely breaching the surface of the water

4/22/18 - Happy Earth Day! Sanctuary Explorations participants celebrated the ocean and the amazing marine life during a gray whale watching cruise. From seabirds to a gray whale cow/calf pair (look close for the calf!), we had a wonderful day and enjoyed mother earth and her amazing creatures! How are you celebrating the earth today? (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)

view of Cove Beach

4/20/18 - Beach Watch-Beach 509: Cove Beach, in San Mateo County, lives up to its name. Closed in and secluded, you'll often find it's just you and the brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis), as California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) surf the waves - along with the occasional surfing human, as well. This beach is particularly special, as it's sandy cove bluff 'banks' and alluvial soils are important nesting habitat for bank swallows (Riparia riparia), a California Threatened Species. Learn more about Beach Watch. Photo credit: Beach Watch/GFNMS/NOAA

Northern Fulmar in flight

4/16/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) is in a group of birds known as tubenoses. The distinct tubes seen on this fulmar's bill, contain its nostrils and aid this pelagic bird in finding food with an amazing sense of smell; a good trait when you live primarily in the open ocean! (Photo Credit: Sophie Webb, USFWS)

waterfall between rock at the beach

4/13/18 - Beach Watch-Beach 510: Bradley Beach in San Mateo County is our most southerly beach, and one of a handful of places in California where you can see northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) and southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) enjoying a day on the coast. Remember to never approach marine mammals, and always give them at least 300 feet of space! The ranges of these two marine mammals overlap on this beautiful beach, where seasonal waterfalls give way to creeks running to the ocean. Surveyors have seen everything from murrelets (Alcidae) to western bluebirds (Sialia mexicana)  in the ocean waves and shrubby coastal bluffs. Learn more about Beach Watch. Photo credits: Beach Watch/ GFNMS/NOAA

Western Gull with a sea star in its beak

4/11/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Ever bite off more than you can chew? This sea star might not go down smoothly, but that doesn't stop this Western Gull from trying! Though they mainly feed on invertebrates and fish, gulls will eat just about anything. (Photo: Enrique Patino, NOAA NMFS)

nudibranch

4/9/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Spotted Triopha (Triopha maculata) is a nudibranch (a shell-less mollusk!) that can be found along the West coast of North America from Canada to Baja California. This nudibranch can reach lengths of up to 7 inches but is more commonly about 2 inches long. How many different types of nudibranchs have you spotted in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary?(Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

waves crashing over rocks at the beach

4/6/18 - Leading up to the 25th anniversary of the Beach Watch Program this coming fall, we will be featuring a 'Beach - a - Week' of all the beaches the program monitors. All beaches featured are accessible to the public, and are a great way to explore your sanctuary! Beach Watch is a long-term shoreline monitoring project which was founded in 1993 by Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. A program of the Greater Farallones Association, this year-round ecosystem assessment program is conducted by dedicated volunteers who regularly survey an assigned beach within the Greater Farallones and NOAA's Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.Volunteers collect data on live and dead species of birds and marine mammals as well as human activities. They also report violations, detect oil pollution, and collect oil samples. Beach Watch is the first volunteer program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and has worked for almost twenty-five years to provide: A baseline dataset on the presence of live and dead coastal wildlife and human uses; assistance to sanctuary management in the early detection of natural and human-caused environmental events; a network of volunteer expert surveyors who can respond to oil spills; education to the public about the coastal environment and how they can make a difference in protecting their beaches.

view of a blackgill rockfish from above

4/2/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Blackgill rockfish (Sebastes melanostomus) are a deep water species commonly found at depths of 400-2,500 feet. However, young blackgill rockfish can be found in shallower areas. Despite their prominent red coloring, the upper tips of their gill membranes are black, giving them their name! (Photo Credit: Kevin L. Stierhoff, NOAA/SWFSC)

seastar

3/30/18 - Hang in there! It's almost the weekend. Do you have any plans to explore your national marine sanctuaries? (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)

Pelican in flight

3/28/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Pelicans may lumber to become airborne, but once aloft they are truly experts at soaring. To save energy, they float up on pockets of warm air and drop downward in great circles. To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Adam Li, NOAA NMFS SWFSC)

spotted dolphin

3/26/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! While extremely rare in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, they are found in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide. (Photo Credit: NOAA/NMFS/PIFSC)

Great Egret

3/19/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Great Egret (Ardea alba) is well designed for its wading lifestyle with long legs and a sharp bill to spear prey in the shallow waters of salt or freshwater marshes, ponds and tidal flats. Trivia Question: What key features distinguish the Great Egret from the similar looking Snowy Egret? (Photo Credit: Robert Schwemmer, NOAA)

brandt's cormorants

3/14/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Did you know Brandt's Cormorants cement their nests together using their own guano? Males collect nest materials like seaweed and eelgrass underwater and females do the building. Over time, the nest can turn into a tower! (Photo: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)

skate

3/12/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Big skates (Raja binoculata) can reach lengths of up to 8 feet. They are typically found along the sandy seafloor where they can both hide from their predators (such as sharks) and find prey which includes shrimp, worms, clams and some types of fish. Big skates are known for the dark spots on their fins which resemble eyes and can confuse predators into thinking that they are much larger than they really are! (Photo Credit: Linda Snook, NOAA/MBNMS)

whitecap limpet

3/5/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The whitecap limpet (Acmaea mitra) is all white and is taller and more conical than many other limpets. It feeds on encrusting coralline algae- the pink that is covering its shell in this photo- a common site with this species. In this case, you WEAR what you eat! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

Common Murre lays decidedly uncommon eggs

2/28/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! The Common Murre lays decidedly uncommon eggs. Not only are the eggs beautiful, the speckles and swirls on each egg are unique and help parents identify their offspring before they hatch. To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo Credit: Brandon Saito, USFWS)

dead mans fingers seaweed

2/27/18 - If you see dead man's fingers while you're out tidepooling, don't worry! It's just seaweed ... that's not only sort of creepy, it might be invasive! LiMPETS helps to monitor several subspecies of this algae that are thought to be invasive along California coastal areas. This week, NOAA's Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is raising awareness about a number of invasive species, learn more here (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart / NOAA MBNMS)

A warty sea cucumber

2/26/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Striped perch (Embiotoca lateralis) have distinctive red, blue, and yellow stripes and can grow to a length of about 15 inches. Their genus name, Embiotoca, is derived from Greek words meaning: "living within" and "offspring"; referring to their viviparous (bearing live young) mode of reproduction. (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

A warty sea cucumber

2/19/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The warty sea cucumber (Parastichopus parvimensis) is quite fast for a sea cucumber and can move 3 feet in about 15 minutes! If the warty sea cucumber is threatened or handled roughly, it can spew out its internal anatomy, which it then regenerates over the course of a few weeks. (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

Baleen whales in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

2/15/18 - Happy Whale Week! How many types of baleen whales can be found in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary? Bonus points if you can name one type (or all of them)! (Photo Credit: NOAA)

seabirds on the Valentine's Day

2/14/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! What do seabirds want for Valentine's Day? Not flowers! When a male gull is interested in a mate, he regurgitates a meal for her to eat. Successful delivery can mean mating for life. How's that for romance? To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive.(Photo: National Park Service)

The Osprey  is a large and distinctive hawk with a predominantly white underside

2/12/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is a large and distinctive hawk with a predominantly white underside. It feeds almost exclusively on live fish. The Osprey is an incredible angler and has a unique, reversible outer toe that allows it to catch fish with two toes forward and two toes back to better grip its slippery meal! Have you ever seen an Osprey fishing? (Photo Credit: Enrique Patino, NOAA Fisheries)

A black and yellow rockfish

2/5/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The black and yellow rockfish (Sebastes chrysomelas) is a bottom dweller, most commonly found around rocky reefs from the intertidal to depths of 60 feet. This solitary and territorial fish feeds on crustaceans, mollusks and other species of fish using a nocturnal ambush strategy! (Photo Credit: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)

Surf Scoter smashing into the water

1/31/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Surfs up! Instead of catching waves the Surf Scoter smashes through them. Why? For food! This diving sea duck searches for mollusks and crustaceans underwater and consumes them whole. To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Peter Pearsall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

whip-like gorgonian coral

1/29/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! A new species of whip-like gorgonian coral (Swiftia farallonesica) was discovered during a research cruise in 2014. It was found in an area of Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary known as The Football, 23 miles west of Jenner and the mouth of the Russian River, in Sonoma County. This solitary coral feeds on plankton as they drift by with the currents! (Photo Credit: NOAA)

Bufflehead ducks swimming together

1/22/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) is the smallest diving duck in North America. They breed in Canada and Alaska and are cavity nesters-utilizing the holes made by woodpeckers! They winter in much of the United States and central Mexico and can be spotted in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. The males have a large black head with a white triangle covering the back of their head, while the females have a white oval on their cheek. How many males and how many females can you spot in this photo?(Photo Credit: Jim Bourke, NPS)

two gulls standing together

1/17/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Did you know some seabirds like the Western Gull have no problem drinking seawater? They have a special gland by their eye designed to flush out salt through their bill. It's like a built-in desalination system! To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to seabirds thrive. (Photo Credit: NPS)

elephant seals on the beach

1/16/18 - Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary was designated on January 16, 1981!

Orange cup coral

1/15/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Orange cup coral (Balanophyllia elegans) can be found along the Pacific Coast from British Columbia to Baja California. The females brood their larvae until they are about 2mm long. The larvae are then released from their mother's mouth and crawl to a nearby surface where they will settle for the rest of their life. In this case, the orange cup coral really doesn't fall far from the tree! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

wooly sculpin

1/8/18 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The wooly sculpin (Cilinocottus analis) is a small fish (2-7 inches long) that is commonly found in the intertidal. This amazing animal not only changes color, like many sculpins, to camouflage with its surroundings but it is also capable of surviving out of the water for up to 24 hours! (Photo Credit: Cabrillo National Monument)

Rhinoceros Auklet

1/3/18 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! What New Year's resolutions do seabirds have? To fatten up! Before the start of nesting season in spring, birds like this Rhinoceros Auklet spend months foraging in the open ocean for crustaceans and small fish. To learn more about - California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Nial Moore, NPS)

cockscomb nudibranch

1/1/18 - Marine Life Monday! Rivaling most colorful explosions of fireworks, this little creature is actually a mollusk. The cockscomb nudibranch or Santa Barbara Janolus (Janolus barbarensis) can reach lengths of about 2 inches and can be found from San Francisco to Baja California. Several thousand species of nudibranchs have been discovered worldwide, how many species have you seen? New year, "new"dibranch!? (Photo Credit: Ken Bondy, NSF)

 Winter King Tides

12/30/17 - Keep your eyes open for another set of King Tides, the highest winter tides along the entire California coast, on January 1 and 2, 2018. Check your local tides here: tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov The California King Tides Project seeks to document the impacts of flooding events during King Tides and show what the daily water levels of the future will look like with sea level rise. This allows us to take action to reduce coastal hazards that impact both our communities and economy. To learn more about the California King Tides Project and how you can get involved, visit our website (Photo: Brian Johnson, NOAA/GFNMS)

Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)

12/25/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! While we don't have a snowy white winter along the California coast, we do have the Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)! This small, pale plover has a tan back and white underparts which help it blend into its sandy habitat. It has suffered a major decline in population due to recreational activities on beaches, habitat loss from development and predation. The nest of a Snowy Plover is just a small indent in the sand and often goes unnoticed. These small birds flee from their nest when frightened and may not return for hours; their eggs can get crushed or eaten while they are gone. Tread carefully the next time you might be walking through plover habitat! (Photo Credit: Jessica Weinberg McClosky, NPS)

California seabirds

12/20/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Do you have big travel plans this holiday season? So do seabirds! Many seabirds return from summers nesting in the Arctic to winter on the Central California coast, like these striking Horned Puffins. Anyone else headed south this winter? To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive, visit farallones.noaa.gov/eco/seabird/. (Photo: Lisa Hupp, USFWS)

Setchell's kelp (Laminaria setchellii)

12/18/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Setchell's kelp (Laminaria setchellii) is a brown algae that can be found in the low intertidal and upper subtidal zones along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Baja California. Cross sections taken of this kelp reveal concentric rings, much like the rings of trees, that are formed annually and can be counted to determine age. (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

Snubnose sculpin (Orthonopias triacis)

12/11/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The snubnose sculpin (Orthonopias triacis) can found from the intertidal down to depths of about 30 meters. This small fish grows to be about 4 inches long and can be differentiated from other sculpins by its extremely short snout. Like most sculpins, this master of camouflage can change color to match its surroundings! (Photo Credit: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)

deep-sea coral communities

12/8/17 - Happy corals week! Did you know that we have deep-sea coral communities in the national marine sanctuaries along the West Coast? Our deep-sea coral curriculum takes students into the deep sea to identify the soft corals, hard corals, invertebrates and fish found in these communities and to investigate the unique biology of deep-sea corals. Learn the threats these animals face and what we can do help protect them. sanctuaries.noaa.gov/education/teachers/deep-coral-communities/

a group of pelicans is called a Squadron

12/6/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Fun Fact: a group of pelicans is called a Squadron. Squadrons of California Brown Pelicans can be seen resting on coastal rocks or flying in formation along the crests of waves. Talk about squad goals! To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive, visit farallones.noaa.gov/eco/seabird/. (Photo: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

Bamboo corals

12/4/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Bamboo corals, in the family Isididae, are cosmopolitan-meaning that they can be found in waters all over the world including the cold, deep waters of Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary! Along with jellyfish and anemones, corals are members of the Phylum Cnidaria. Some species of bamboo corals, such as the one pictured here (Isidella tentaculum) have fleshy "hula skirts" of elongated tentacles which may be defensive "sweeper" tentacles to ward of nearby settlers and predators! (Photo Credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration)

King Tide

12/1/17 - King Tides, the highest winter tides along the entire California coast, are taking place December 3, 4 and 5, 2017 and January 1 and 2, 2018.Check your local tides here: tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov The California King Tides project started in 2010 to raise awareness about the potential impacts of flooding events and future sea level rise. What impacts do the King Tides have on your community? To learn more about the California King Tides Project and how you can get involved, visit our website (Photo: Brian Johnson, NOAA/GFNMS)

 Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister)

11/27/2017 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) are commonly found from the low intertidal down to depths of about 600 feet and prefer habitats with a sandy bottom or eelgrass beds. They feed on other small invertebrates and small fish. The Dungeness crab fishery is extremely important along the West Coast. In recent years it was the highest revenue fishery in Washington and Oregon, and the second most valuable in California. (Photo Credit: National Park Service)

Buller's Shearwater (Puffinus bulleri)

11/22/2017 -Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Happy Thanksgiving! While seabirds don't celebrate the holiday they sure do feast. At this feeding frenzy (pictured) Pink-footed Shearwaters and Western Gulls are fighting over a cornucopia of Pacific mackerel. A school of fish can attract hundreds of birds and other animals like whales and pinnipeds who all share in the nutritious bounty. To learn more about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Sophie Webb, NOAA/SWFSC)

North Pacific right whale

11/20/2017 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica) is the rarest of all large whale species and among the rarest of all marine mammals. These baleen whales reach lengths of about 45-55 feet and weigh up to 70 tons. The population of right whales was heavily depleted by commercial whaling and continues to face threats from shipstrikes and entanglement. Little is known about their migratory patterns, although it is thought that they migrate from high-latitude feeding grounds in summer to more temperate waters during the winter. (Photo Credit: John Durban, NOAA)

Buller's Shearwater (Puffinus bulleri)

11/13/2017 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Buller's Shearwater (Puffinus bulleri) has an estimated population of 2.5 million birds; all of which breed on just one small island group off New Zealand. The Buller's Shearwater migrates north after breeding and can be spotted feeding on fish, squid, and crustaceans off the coast of California from June to November. Several Buller's Shearwaters were spotted on a recent Sanctuary Explorations Farallon Islands & Wildlife Watching trip! (Photo Credit: Steve N. G. Howell / NOAA CBNMS)

Pacific viperfish (Chauliodus macouni)

11/8/2017 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Long before the infamous "Birdman" of Alcatraz met his feathery friends in prison, the island was home to thousands of nesting seabirds. Even the name Alcatraz was derived from the word 'alcatraces' given to the island by early Spanish explorers due to the plentiful seabirds living there. Today, the island is a haven for over 5,000 nesting birds like these Brandt's Cormorants.To learn about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Wendy Kordesch, NOAA/GFNMS)

Pacific viperfish (Chauliodus macouni)

10/30/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! There is no shortage of halloween inspiration in the ocean with deep sea creatures like this Pacific viperfish (Chauliodus macouni). The viperfish can reach lengths of 12 inches and has extraordinarily long teeth. Its teeth are so long that when it closes its mouth, the bottom teeth curve up over the outside of its head! The Pacific viperfish has a long dorsal spine with a photophore (a light-producing organ) at the end of it which acts a lure to help it catch prey in the dark of the deep sea. (Photo Credit: David Csepp, NMFS/AKFSC/ABL)

Tufted Puffin

10/25/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Still looking for the perfect costume? The Tufted Puffin is always Halloween ready with it's candy-corn colored beak and snow-white mask. To learn about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive, visit farallones.noaa.gov/eco/seabird. (Photo: Peter Hodum, WDFW)

Ringed or Leopard Dorid

10/23/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Ringed or Leopard Dorid (Diaulula sandiegensis) is an intertidal species that grazes on sponges. You may spot these nudibranchs displaying a range of colors from white, to pale grey, brown, or even yellow. Most are 'spotted' with rings or spots (earning them their name!) but occasionally these patterns are absent. They lay long, delicate egg ribbons (as seen here) that are often hidden in crevices. Tell us what your favorite nudibranch is in the comments below! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)

Brandt's Cormorant

10/16/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Brandt's Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) is the most common cormorant along the California coast, can you name the other 2 cormorants found in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary? They are great divers and can dive 50 meters deep when pursuing prey! After a dive, you may spot them with their wings spread out to dry, as their feathers are not completely waterproof and become soaked. Having less oil on their wings helps reduce buoyancy and allows the cormorant to forage deeper under water. (Photo Credit: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)

humpback whale tail breching the water surrounded by shearwater
10/11/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Humpback whales feed by rounding up schools of fish in rich offshore waters and seabirds, like these Short-tailed Shearwaters, reap the benefits. Dinner is served! To learn about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive, visit seabirdprotectionnetwork.org (Photo: Brenda Rone / NOAA)
Turkish towel
10/9/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Turkish towel (Chondracanthus exasperatus) is a red alga that acquired its name because it is covered in small bumps (called papillae) giving it a unique towel-like texture! Turkish towel contains carrageenan, which is used as a thickener in ice creams, chocolate milk, cottage cheese, pasta, pet food, pancake syrup, and toothpaste among other common household items! (Photo Credit: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)
blackeye goby
10/2/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The blackeye goby (Rhinogobiops nicholsii) is a small fish, reaching lengths up to 6 inches, that is found mainly from the subtidal to depths of 500 feet. There are 2,000 goby species worldwide with at least 14 in California. Blackeye gobies are protogynous hermaphrodites; this means that they are born female, but become male when they reach a length of about 3 inches! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)
Blue Shark
9/28/17 - There are at least sixteen known species of sharks in the sanctuary! Do you know what type of shark this is? To find out more join us for Sharktoberfest on September 30! (Photo Credit: Walter Heim, NOAA/SWFSC)
Puffin
9/27/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Puffins in San Francisco? Just 30 miles offshore, the Farallon Islands are home to a whole colony of tufted puffins. And they're not alone. The Farallon Islands host the largest breeding colony of seabirds in the continental US with over 250,000 birds! Learn more about seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Sophie Webb / NOAA SWFSC)
White Shark
9/26/17 -Did you know that White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) can reach lengths of 21.5 feet! Find out more about sharks at Sharktoberfest, Saturday September 30th, 11am-4pm! (Photo Credit: Steven K. Webster/Monterey Bay Aquarium)
Long-beaked common dolphins
9/25/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Long-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus capensis) are usually found in large social groups that consist of 100-500 animals! They feed on small schooling fish, krill and squid and are capable of diving to depths of at least 900 feet! They are a relatively small dolphin reaching lengths of 6-8.5 feet and weighing 160-500 pounds. The long-beaked common dolphin is easily confused with the similar looking short-beaked common dolphin; and the two were only separated into distinct species in the mid-1990s. (Photo Credit: Bernardo Alps, NOAA/SWFSC)
Leopard Sharks
9/23/17 - Leopard sharks have a gray body, white belly and black spots when they are young and living in shallow waters, but as they grow older these spots can fade. Who says a leopard can't change its spots? To find out more about the sharks living in our sanctuary, join us for Sharktoberfest. (Photo Credit: Adam Obaza/NOAA)
White Shark
9/19/17 - Sharktoberfest is coming! Save the Date! Saturday, September 30th, 2017 from 11 am to 4 pm, outside of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary offices at Crissy Field. (Photo Credit: Peter Winch)
Moon Jellies
9/18/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Moon Jellies (Aurelia aurita) are named for their translucent moonlike bells that can grow up to approximately 15 inches across. Unlike many jellies that have long tentacles, the moon jelly has a short, fine fringe that sweeps in its planktonic food. The color of a moon jelly can change depending on diet; a crustacean heavy diet gives the jelly a pink or lavender tinge while brine shrimp turn it a light orange. (Photo Credit: Bill Goodwin/NOAA)
Pigeon Guillemot
9/13/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Feeling the end of summer heat? So are seabirds! Just like many humans, seabirds hop right into the water to cool off. With water temperatures in the low 60s, you can expect this Pigeon Guillemot cooled off right away. So make like a seabird and jump in! Learn more about seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Sophie Webb / NOAA SWFSC)
Blue Heron
9/11/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) can be found in a wide range of habitats, as long as there is some water nearby. It is the largest member of the heron family and can stand up to 4.5 feet tall with an almost 7 foot wingspan! They feed primarily on fish but will also eat frogs, insects, crustaceans, snakes, turtles, rodents and small birds. (Photo Credit: Will Elder, NPS)
American White Pelican
9/4/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) prefers the brackish estuaries and lagoons of Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and is not commonly seen near the open sea. Unlike the Brown Pelican, also seen in the sanctuary, the American White Pelican does not dive from the sky to fish. Instead they scoop up prey from a floating position on the water! (Photo Credit: Benjamin Sandford, NOAA/NWFSC)
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8/30/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Racking up frequent flyer miles this summer? So is the Laysan Albatross! These expert flyers soar hundreds of miles a day and can stay out at sea for years before touching down on land again. That is a lot of miles! Laysan Albatross visit the rich waters of California in summer in search of tasty squid, which is where this one was spotted. Learn about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo:Laura Morse/NOAA)
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8/28/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The smooth urn sponge (Leucilla nuttingi) is found from British Columbia down to Baja. These small animals form clusters of vase-shaped tubes that are only 1-2 cm tall. Sponges are unique in that their bodies are a collection of nearly independent cells, lacking organs and tissues like most other animals. Of a probable 10,000-15,000 sponges worldwide, only about 5,000 species have been described and named! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)
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8/21/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The colonial tube worm (Dodecaceria fewkesi) creates a large mass of calcareous tubes to serve as its home. A colony is started by a single founder who then reproduces asexually. Each worm can reach a length of approximately 4 cm and feeds with small dark brown to black tentacles, which can be seen extending from the tubes in this picture! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)
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8/16/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! The Common Murre uses its wings to "fly" underwater to depths of 600 feet. What does it do down there? Catch fish! Murres love to eat herring, cod, and capelin. They are often seen carrying food in their bill--like this squid! Learn more about seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Sophie Webb / NOAA SWFSC)
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8/14/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Gopher rockfish (Sebastes carnatus) are solitary and extremely territorial. They are nocturnal predators that feed mainly on crustaceans and will ambush their unassuming prey. Juvenile gopher rockfish, like this one, are often preyed upon by adult rockfish and lingcod. Good luck little fish! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)
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8/12/17 - We are headed out into Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary for a day of whale watching!  How are you spending your Get into Your Sanctuary Day? (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)
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8/11/17 - Don't forget to grab your camera when you celebrate Get Into Your Sanctuary Day this Saturday August 12th! Enter your best shots to the Get Into Your Sanctuary photo contest anytime until August 31! There are 3 categories: *Sanctuary Views *Sanctuary Life *Sanctuary Portraits. The best photos will be highlighted on the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries website! Please be careful not to disturb the wildlife that calls our sanctuaries home while taking your photos! Have fun getting creative and remember to take only photos, and leave only footprints (or bubbles!). For more information please go to our website. (Photo Credit: Joe Hoyt, NOAA)
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8/10/17 - Don't feel crabby, we still have a few spaces left in the 1:00-2:30pm Crab Family workshop on Saturday August 12th! Attention all creative crustaceans! It's Get Into Your Sanctuary Day so prepare your claws and carapaces for a family event devoted entirely to crabs! Learn about crab anatomy with our crab dress-up costume. Look and touch real live shore crabs and sand crabs. Use crab traps to fish for rock and Dungeness crabs off of our classroom pier. Contact Sara Heintzelman to reserve our Get into Your Sanctuary Events. (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)
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8/9/17 - Are you planning a final road trip for the summer? There are 15,333 square miles of national marine sanctuaries to explore along the West Coast! Visit NOAA Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary or NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and celebrate Get into Your Sanctuary Day on August 12th in one of these incredible locations! Where will you Get into Your Sanctuary? Find Get Into Your Sanctuary Events. Plan your own sanctuary adventure. (Photo Credit: Matt McIntosh, NOAA)
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8/7/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) have a widespread distribution and are one of the most well known species of marine mammals. They have a lifespan of 40-50 years, and females as old as 45 have given birth! Bottlenose dolphins have an unusual feeding strategy called "fish-whacking", where they'll use their fluke to whack a fish and knock it straight out of the water! (Photo Credit: NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center)
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8/5/17 - Are you still looking for ways to celebrate Get Into Your Sanctuary Day on August 12? There are fantastic spots to tidepool in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary! Explore the amazing intertidal habitat at the edge of the sea where animals and algae survive under ever changing conditions. (Photo Credit: Matt McIntosh, NOAA)
Social media image 8/3/17 - Bingo!! Stop by the Greater Farallones Visitor Center on August 12th or 13th, 10am-4pm to borrow a bird bingo game sheet. Take a walk at the nearby beach and marsh and bring your completed bingo board back to the visitor center for a prize! (Photo Credit: Roy W. Lowe/USFWS)
Social media image 8/2/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! The Trinidad coast is home to one of California's largest colonies of Common Murres; with over 60,000 birds nesting on Green and Flatiron Rocks alone! To help save future generations of these birds, a new North Coast Chapter of the Seabird Protection Network has been formed. Please join us in welcoming them to our team! Keep an eye out for these birds, and if you live in the Trinidad area consider volunteering to assist with Citizen Science! To learn more about seabirds and what the Seabird Protection Network is doing to help seabirds thrive along the northern California coast, visit the website. (Photo: NOAA/OCNMS)
Social media image 8/1/17 - We want to see your photos of the beautiful scenery in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary! Submit your favorite sanctuary views to the Get Into Your Sanctuary photo contest! (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)
Social media image 7/31/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Monterey doris (Doris montereyensis) can reach lengths of 15cm and is usually a lemon-yellow color; however it can range in color from a brighter yellow-orange to nearly white. It lays ribbons of eggs that can contain up to 2 million individual eggs! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)
Social media image 7/29/17 - Raise a hand (or fin!) if you want to go whale watching! Plan a Get Into Your Sanctuary whale watching adventure in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary on August 12th or 13th. (Photo Credit: Ed Lyman/NOAA Permit #15240)
Social media image 7/27/17 - Feeling crabby? Don't worry, there is a way for the whole family to enjoy Get into Your Sanctuary Day on Saturday August 12th! Join us for a morning or afternoon Crab Family Workshop. Attention all curious crustaceans! Prepare your claws and carapaces for a family event devoted entirely to crabs. Learn about crab anatomy with our crab dress-up costume and naturalist-led dissection of invasive green crabs. Look and touch real live shore crabs and sand crabs. As a grand finale, we will be using crab traps to fish for rock and Dungeness crabs off of our classroom pier. For more information or to register, contact Sara: sara.heintzelman@noaa.gov Check out all of our Get into Your Sanctuary Events. (Photo Credit: Kate Bimrose, NOAA/GFNMS)
Social media image 7/25/17 - If the ocean makes you jump for joy too, submit your favorite sanctuary portraits to the Get Into Your Sanctuary photo contest! (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)
Social media image 7/24/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The Belted Kingfisher (Cerle alcyon) has a long, pointed beak, a dark blue head and a white throat. Females, such as the one in the picture, have a rusty colored band on their belly and sides. Kingfishers can be spotted diving into the water to catch their primary prey, small fish. Keep your eyes out for Belted Kinfishers if you visit the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center, this one was spotted close by! (Photo Credit: Will Elder, NPS)
Social media image 7/23/17 - Kayaks are a great way to explore your national marine sanctuaries! Plan a Get Into Your Sanctuary Day paddle adventure in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)
Social media image 7/21/17 - Looking for a whale of a good time? Join the Sanctuary Explorations program for a Farallon Islands & Whale Watching Trip on August 12 to celebrate Get into Your Sanctuary Day! Or find another Get into Your Sanctuary event near you. (Photo Credit: Peter Winch, NOAA/GFNMS)
Social media image 7/20/17 - It isn't too early to start celebrating Get Into Your Sanctuary Day! The photo contest is open now and you have until August 31st to enter. Submit your best images of the abundant sanctuary life; from invertebrates to birds, fish to marine mammals! There is no shortage of inspiration in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Remember to be respectful of these marine critters and their homes! (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)
Social media image 7/19/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Keep an eye out for Double-crested Cormorants this July and August. Unlike most seabirds, Double-crested Cormorants don't have oily feathers for waterproofing. To dry their feathers after a wet swim, they stretch out their wings and face the wind. Good weather isn't required for drying, but it must help - which means Double-crested Cormorants might enjoy the summer sun as much as you do! Learn about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Dick Daniels/NPS)
Social media image 7/17/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) was named for its relatively large head, which supports powerful jaws and enables them to feed on hard-shelled prey, such as whelks. Although hatchlings only weigh 20 grams, full grown adults can reach weights of 250 pounds! Pacific loggerheads migrate over 7,500 miles between nesting beaches in Japan and feeding grounds off the coast of Mexico! (Photo Credit: GP Schmahl/NOAA)
Social media image 7/15/17 - Get Into Your Sanctuary Day is August 12th! From a day-long adventure at sea, to family workshops, or drop-in activities- there is something and some way for everyone to participate in the Get Into Your Sanctuary celebration with Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. How will you celebrate Get Into Your Sanctuary day? (Photo Credit: Sara Heintzelman, NOAA/GFNMS)
Social media image 7/14/17 - You're invited! On August 12th, we'll be holding a nation-wide "Get Into Your Sanctuary" celebration. From a walk on the beach to a surfing adventure, a visit to an aquarium or a sanctuary staff-led event, there is something for everyone and many ways to enjoy your national marine sanctuaries! To figure out where to go, what to do and get a sneak peak of what you might see, check out our Visit page.
Social media image 7/12/17 - Celebrate the upcoming Get Into Your Sanctuary day by getting out and taking photos that show off the natural beauty and importance of our marine sanctuaries! The photo contest has officially opened! You can enter anytime until August 31! There are 3 categories: Sanctuary Views, Sanctuary Life, and Sanctuary Portraits. The best photos will be highlighted on the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries website! Please be careful not to disturb the wildlife that calls our sanctuaries home while taking your photos! Have fun getting creative and remember to take only photos, and leave only footprints (or bubbles!). (Photo Credit: Matt McIntosh, NOAA, ONMS)
Social media image 7/10/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Grass rockfish (Sebastes rastrelliger) can be recognized by their red-rimmed eyes, which are closely set and located toward the top of their large heads; these features can give the impression that they are cross-eyed! They are masters of camouflage and tend to stay in the same crack or crevice. While they are hard to spot, once you locate one, chances are that the same individual will continue to be found in that location time after time! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)
Social media image 7/5/17 - Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Strike a pose! This Common Murre is poised and undeniably beautiful! Learn about California seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Dick Daniels/NPS)
Social media image 7/3/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The sea-clown triopha (Triopha catalinae) is a distinctive nudibranch with its pale body and bright orange spots. It feeds on bryozoans in mid to low rocky intertidal areas. The sea-clown is one of the largest nudibranchs that is able to crawl on the underside of tide pool surface films, usually a feat only accomplished by smaller nudibranchs! (Photo Credit: Greg McFall, NOAA/CBNMS)
Social media image 6/26/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Despite its appearance, the American Coot (Fulica americana) is not a duck but in the Family Rallidae, which included rails, gallinules, and coots. A unique feature of the coot is that it has lobed toes rather than webbed feet. Coots can be seen running across the water, beating their wings for quite a distance to get themselves airborne! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)
Social media image 6/21/17 -Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Point Reyes National Seashore is a treasure for many reasons, not least of all because it's prime habitat for seabirds, including tens of thousands of common murres. If you haven't seen them yet, grab some binocs, a windbreaker and check out the colony near the lighthouse - not to mention the big blue expanse of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary beyond! Learn more about common murres and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: Sandy Rhoades/USFWS)
Social media image 6/19/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! Green Pin Cushion Alga (Cladophora columbiana) may look just like moss, but it is a green alga found in the mid to high intertidal. Its spongy filaments help it effectively hold water, allowing it to survive long periods of exposure to the air and sun. This is one of the species monitored by the LiMPETS program! Find out more about LiMPETS (Photo Credit: Monika Krach, Greater Farallones Association)
Social media image 6/18/17 - Happy Father's Day! We know that there are a lot of incredible fathers out there and Common Murre dads are among them! Did you know that Common Murre chicks leave their rocky, cliffside nests just 3 weeks after hatching? First the fathers coax the flightless chicks to jump from the cliffs down to the sea, then the fathers spend the next 2 months teaching their chicks how to survive life as a seabird. Good job dads! (Photo Credit: OCNMS, NOAA)
Social media image 6/12/17 - Happy Marine Life Monday! The fragile pink urchin (Strongylocentrotus fragilis) is a deep sea species and is usually found at depths of 300-1600 feet. The fragile pink urchin feeds on bits of plants and animals that drift down to its deep environment. Like other urchins, it has tiny tube feet and spines that it uses to pass the treasured food scraps to its mouth which is on the bottom of its body! (Photo Credit: IfAME MBNMS MARE TNC)
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6/8/17 - Happy World Oceans Day! Looking for a way to celebrate World Oceans Day? Come visit Greater Farallones education staff at the San Francisco Zoo from 10am-3pm this Sunday, June 11th! (Photo Credit: Kate Thompson/NOAA)

Social media image The spotted ratfish (Hydrolagus colliei) is a chimaera and has some characteristics of sharks (cartilaginous fish) and some characteristics of bony fish. This deep sea species can be found as deep as 1000 meters and can be spotted cruising along the seafloor looking for shrimp, clams, worms, sea stars, or other fishes to feed on! (Photo Credit: Jean DeMarignac / NOAA MBNMS)
social media imageThe Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) is well known for its amazing annual migration. With a wingspan of 25-29 inches and a weight of only 3-4 ounces, this small bird migrates around 22,000 miles from Arctic breeding grounds to its wintering grounds off of Antarctica! (Photo Credit: Ken Conger, NPS)
social media imageIn 1994, seabird biologist Harry Carter had a vision: to restore the common murre colony at Devil's Slide Rock, which had been completely abandoned as a result of an oil spill and gillnet fisheries. Carter assembled a daring team, piloted zodiacs in rough seas, and climbed the rock to place decoys he hoped would attract the murres back to their old home. Year after year, that work continued, and more birds started breeding on the rock. Thanks to this long term commitment over the past twenty years, the colony today is now home to 2,000 nesting common murres.

social media imageFrom striving to thriving, the Brown Pelican is an endangered species success story! Nearly extinct in the 1970's they have rebounded to healthy numbers since DDT was banned. The Endangered Species Act made this possible and the California Brown Pelican was delisted in 2009. (Photo Credit: Matt McIntosh/NOAA)

 

social media imageThe North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) population has been rebounding in Northern California in recent years after historic declines due to pressures from hunting, pollution and habitat loss. Although somewhat similar in appearance to their relatives the sea otter, the river otter does not float on its back and is much more agile on land. They reach lengths of about 4 feet (including their tails!) and weigh 10-30 pounds. They can be found in a wide variety of marine and freshwater habitats where they search for fish, sea stars, crabs, mussels, amphibians, and bird eggs to feast on. (Photo Credit: NPS)
social media imageShortly after hatching, common murre chicks stretch their wings for their first... swim! Common murres learn to swim and dive before they fly. In fact, they are such incredible divers and swimmers that they are often described as “flying” through the water. Make sure you give common murre chicks space as they enter Greater Farallones and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries for their very first time. (Photo: RJ Roush)
social media imageThe shag-rug nudibranch (Aeolidia papillosa) can be found in the low intertidal and subtidal zones from Alaska through central California. Their shaggy appearance mimics the sea anemones that these nudibranchs feed on! (Photo Credit: Steve Lonhart, NOAA/MBNMS)
social media imageThe copper rockfish (Sebastes caurinus) has pronounced spines and the rear two thirds of its lateral line is distinctly light which helps distinguish it from similar looking rockfish species. The copper rockfish can reach lengths of approximately 26 inches and has been know to live for 50 years!
(Photo Credit: Chad King, NOAA/MBNMS)
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I spy, with my little eye, a giant, soaring black-footed albatross. Welcome to Winged Wednesday! Black-footed albatrosses are “medium-sized” albatrosses, but they're nonetheless huge birds with 7-foot wingspans. These birds can be found off California year-round, but they're more abundant during our upwelling season, April-September, when our coastal waters are most productive and full of yummy seabird food. Please join us in welcoming many black-footed albatrosses back to our California sanctuaries! Learn more about seabirds and what Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is doing to help seabirds thrive. (Photo: NOAA)