Two days after a series of storms blew in off the Pacific, Monterey Bay looks beautiful again. The storms produced major rain, hail, high winds and even snow in the Salinas Valley. However, looking at the beach this morning, you certainly could not tell. First, the beach was surprisingly clean. I would have expected debris and trash to be littering the beach, but I really didn’t see any. The high waves that were pounding the shore have subsided and the constant surf has returned to its more rhythmic regularity.
Next, I watched the tiny Western Sandpipers dance in the waves trying not to get their feathers wet. They were really quite amusing to watch, since they seemed to be putting so much effort into running away from the waves, only to run back twice as fast onto the wet sand to grab a tasty morsel. A line of twelve Brown Pelicans skimmed the ocean surface, paralleling the shore. They glided just above the breakers and occasionally had to pull up rapidly, as a wave broke unexpectedly. The pelicans were joined by a small flock of Western Gulls and a couple of Turkey Vultures who also seemed to be enjoying riding the wind. Peace and calm has returned, well at least until the next major weather system moves in some time next weekend.