A Whale, Some Dolphins & Lots of Birds

Looking south at the Sea of Cortez and our camping spot (the light spot on the shore) on the beach. We spent five days here watching dolphins, birds, and whales from the beach and kayaked two of those days seeing the wildlife up close.

February 9 -10, 2022 – Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Kayaking with Wildlife in the Sea of Cortez

Whale! Someone had spotted a whale not too far from our camping area on the western shore of the Sea of Cortez north of Agua Verde. Penny and Don already had their kayaks in the water and were in pursuit. Liesbet was the next to put in, but she found a pod of dolphins and was paddling with them. By the time Greg and I launched Pirogue Bleue we had missed the dolphins, and Penny and Don were long out of sight. I figured we’d never catch up to the whale. So we paddled on, saw some grebes and some pelicans, and then off in the distance between us and the shore a large splash. It’s a whale, Greg exclaimed. We paddled towards the splash, my camera at the ready. I snapped a few pics, it went under, lost it! Still, we continued in its direction thinking our sighting from a distance was all we’d get, until it rose again mere yards in front of the kayak. Greg kept moving forward while I worried that it would surface right under us, but unfortunately our whale excitement for the day was over.

* All pics are click to enlarge. Once you have them enlarged you can view them in a slide show. Also, you can hover over the pics to see captions.
** And as always, there are an awful lot of pictures. If you are reading this in an email, it is probably pretty long. The photos are more artfully presented on the blog. Click here to see the post on the website.

Humpback whale breaks the surface in front of our kayak.
Humpback goes under, showing off its tail.
One last look at the tail.

We paddled on and found some birds.

And then on the way back, we found another pod of dolphins.

Islas San Damian & San Cosme

With the whale experience checked off our list we were ready to see some Boobies (the avian kind). The sea of Cortez is the year-round home to Blue-footed Boobies. Penny said she saw some Boobies on the far side of Isla San Damian, a small island we could see in the distance from our campsite. So the next day we put the kayak in the water again and headed out.


The Sea of Cortez with Isla San Cosme (on the left) and Isla San Damian (on the right).

After not having much luck finding Boobies at San Damian, we paddled over to the larger nearby island, San Cosme. Success! Birds abounded.

Pelican Frenzy

Back at the campground, we thought our day of birding was done until we heard a commotion on the beach where we were camped. A flock of pelicans had trapped a school of 6-inch fish by the shore. Every time the school changed direction it was chased back. Mobs of pelicans were diving into the shallow water. Fish leapt onto the shore. Pelicans fought over their catches. It was a raucous, riotous frenzy.

Part of the joy of being a pelican is flying close to the water and occasionally letting your wingtips touch.

It is quite possible that I will be sharing this post on Wild Bird Wednesday. Check out this blog hop to see what birds people have seen recently all over the world.

18 thoughts on “A Whale, Some Dolphins & Lots of Birds

    1. Thanks! I don’t mind you asking! It is a Sony Cyber-shot RX10 iv. It’s a Bridge Camera so it doesn’t have interchangeable lens. But it does have a long zoom. The photos get a little sharpening when I process them but the camera does do a really good job.

  1. Truly awesome pictures. Love the whale pictures and can never get enough pictures of birds. The blue heron is my favorite bird. Keep the adventure alive and we look forward to seeing you soon!

    1. Thanks! I like Great Blue Herons but they are so skittish – which means I get a lot of pictures of them flying away.

      We’re definitely keeping it alive. Look forward to seeing you guys again too!

  2. Duwan, these photos are stunning! Thanks for sharing. We would love to get to Bajá. Everything we see from there looks amazing. So beautiful to see you living your best life

    1. Thanks Holly. I think you and Joe would love Baja. So many interesting people here for you to meet and draw. Hope your travels are going great!

  3. Absolutely loved this episode! So very glad you are back in the wild. And what a wonderful spot for birds!! Thanks for sharing,
    😘❤️❤️Meredith and Ed

  4. Amazing shots, Duwan. That whale experience was awesome. I saw it from further away and never spotted the tail. The pelican frenzy was quite something as well. We had some fun and spectacular times along the Sea of Cortez!

    1. Yes! This is one of my favorite wildlife/birding experiences. The Sea of Cortez is a gem. Glad we could share those fun times with you, Mark, and Maya.

  5. You guys are living the dream! Loved this post and as it is my first visit I read your about pages and skimmed a few back posts (I’ll do that again next time I visit). What a wonderful spot you found.

    1. So glad you enjoyed the post, Sallie! This was an amazing spot – one of my favorite birding experiences! Hopefully, I will have more posts about our travels in Baja soon and another birding post soon too!

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