Thursday, October 22, 2009
Observations from the River
Its been a little over a year now that the Aquarium has been conducting informal monthly observations of the Green Sea Turtle colony in the San Gabriel River. The following is a short summary of what has been seen during that time.
Green sea turtles have been observed in the river every month since August of 2008. As many as 15 different turtles have been seen during an observation period which can last between one hour to three hours. The turtles have been seen at both high tide and low tide and in the early morning through the late afternoon. The sea turtles range in sizes from dinner plate size shells to coffee table size shells. Their surfacing behavior can range from a single breaking of the surface to a series of up to four sequential swims to the surface followed by dives lasting from 10 to 15 minutes or longer. They have been observed surfacing in the shallows and in the middle of the river both near and in the outflow from the discharge stations of the power plants.
Incidental animal sightings along the river in this time frame include:
- A single bottlenose dolphin observed swimming just down river of the 2nd Street bridge.
- Regular observations of large male sea lions swimming as far up the river as the 7th Street Bridge and observed catching large fish.
- A single sighting of a large shark surfacing just above the 2nd Street bridge.
- Early morning sightings of coyotes along the bank.
- A single sighting of a fresh water turtle (Red eared slider).
- A California ground squirrel observed swimming across the river.
Bird sightings include:
- Osprey observed catching fish in the river.
- Belted Kingfisher recorded both by sight and by call.
- California Brown Pelicans observed dive feeding.
- Turkey Vultures foraging along bank
- Various hawks including Kestrels, Coopers and Red-Tail.
- Cormorants including Double-Crested. Dozens of cormorants use the cable spans across the river as a roost.
- Snowy Egrets and Great Egrets.
- Great Blue Herons and Night Herons.
These are observations through October 18th, 2009.
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