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Poison Oak

In Maritime Chaparral, Plants and Fungi, Slough Life, Woodlands by Administrator

Upland woodland and riparian habitats. Some animals eat poison oak’s leaves and berries. Poison oak is a vine or shrub that is native to California. In spring the foliage is bright green, in late summer it begins to turn red & slightly brownish-orange. Extremely variable, it grows as a dense shrub in open sunlight, or as a climbing vine in …

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Plainfin Midshipman

In Fish, Harbor and Bay, Slough Life, Tidal Channels by Administrator

Salt waterways Male plainfin midshipman produce a loud, droning hum during mating season that can be heard by humans nearby. The plainfin midshipman is a very interesting fish found here at the Elkhorn Slough. Also referred to as our local “toad fish,” they visit the slough for breeding and juvenile growth. Adults usually live in depths of around 400m most …

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Santa Cruz Long-toed Salamander

In Freshwater, Reptiles and Amphibians, Santa Cruz long-toed salamander, Slough Life by Administrator

Elkhorn Slough Reserve, Cattail Swale, and other freshwater ponds in the watershed SCLTS only live for about 10 years. The coastal terrace along Monterey Bay is a unique terrestrial landscape that provides shelter to one of the rarest vertebrates in North America: the Santa Cruz long-toed salamander (SCLTS). This relictual species was first discovered along Bonita Drive in Aptos in …

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Harbor Seal

In Harbor and Bay, Mammals, Mudflats, Open Beaches, Slough Life, Tidal Channels by Administrator

Main channel, sandy beaches, mudflats Harbor seals are “true seals” and must move on land by flopping along on their bellies. Harbor seals are found north of the equator in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In the northeast Pacific, they range from Alaska to Baja California, Mexico. They favor near-shore coastal waters and are often seen at sandy beaches, …

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Snowy Plover

In Birds, Coastal Dunes, Mudflats, Open Beaches, Slough Life by Administrator

High intertidal flats, salt ponds Snowy Plovers lay their eggs directly on bare sand, just above the intertidal zone. The Snowy Plover is a fluffy, pale, sparrow-sized shorebird. Besides Elkhorn Slough, it is native to the Pacific coast from Washington state to Mexico. It can be identified from other similar shorebirds by the dark patches on the sides of its …

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Great Horned Owl

In Birds, Grasslands and Scrub, Slough Life, Woodlands by Administrator

Woodlands, grasslands, barn nestbox Great horned owls are the only animal that regularly eats skunks. The Great Horned Owl is one of the most common and widespread owls in North America, being found from the Arctic Tundra, to the arid desert, to tropical forests to urban settings. Their name comes from the tufts of feathers on their heads or “horns” …

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Caspian Tern

In Birds, Mudflats, Slough Life, Tidal Channels by Administrator

© Julie Chen Tidal wetlands, islands with low vegetation in salt marsh Caspian terns are the world’s largest tern species. The Caspian Tern is a large gull-like tern with a black cap and a large, thick coral red bill with black tip. The world’s largest tern species and is found on all continents except for Antarctica. Population is increasing in …