Breakwater blues

Cormorants Now is the time of year that I start visiting the Coast Guard breakwater in Monterey Harbor to watch the sea lions and cormorants battle for dominance of the rocks. The Brandt’s cormorants typically win and nest on the breakwater until their young fledge in the summer. It’s always been a great urban spot for wildlife watching. NewBreakwaterFenceUnfortunately, I won’t be seeing much this year because a new fence has been installed (it’s in addition to the old one), and there’s no longer access to the premier wildlife viewing end of the breakwater. I don’t know if the fence is temporary or permanent. It may be related to repair work the Coast Guard wants to do to the dock. Or, the fishing that occurs close to that end. Maybe it’s due to harassment of the wildlife. It would be a shame if the carelessness of a few people has ruined respectful enjoyment by the rest of us. I need to ask around about this new addition. (Update: I learned from the Coast Guard that the fence is permanent and is to keep anglers from fishing too close to the birds and sea lions.)

CormorantSo for now, no one can see what’s happening on the breakwater rocks unless they’re in a boat. Since this discovery, I have the blues, and I’m sure visitors and anglers who frequent the breakwater do too. It’s so sad to lose such a great spot for watching the annual cycle of life.

About Chris Parsons

A science writer/educator exploring and sharing nature with words and photos to connect, inspire and conserve.
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2 Responses to Breakwater blues

  1. Ingrid T says:

    I was heartbroken when I returned the first year this double fence was installed. I was so looking forward to watching and observing the rookery again, and was disappointed to learn that the gate was put up for the very reason you mention. What an unfortunate statement — that signs and common sense alone can’t protect the area and the birds from encroaching people. I obviously prefer the birds and sea lions be safe from human interference. But how sad that a few disrespectful souls, as always, ruin the experience for the respectful many. Watching the Brandt’s nesting, with the privilege of taking some photos, was one of the most enjoyable and beautiful wildlife encounters I’ve ever had. Two years later, is there any hint of a change in policy? I keep hoping for that.

    • Ingrid
      Sorry, I don’t have any good news. As far as I know there are no plans to remove or modify the double metal fence. Like you, I’m very sad each time I walk to the end of the breakwater. It looks like a prison. The fences overprotect and prevent everyone from viewing (and photographing) up close the amazing cycle of life cormormant-style.
      Chris

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