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Feeding Frenzy at Santa Barbara Harbor
updated: Jan 10, 2017, 11:58 AM

By Mark Bright

This morning from the end of the Santa Barbara breakwater several people witnessed the spectacle of over a thousand birds pelicans, cormorants, gulls, Black-vented Shearwaters joined by Harbor Seals, California Sea Lions and a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins in a feeding frenzy. All were actively diving and swimming and pirating anchovies from what must've been a huge bait ball of fish.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 750931 agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-10 12:12 PM

Fabulous pictures!
Nature at work.

Thanks for posting!


 COMMENT 750933P agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-10 12:31 PM

WOW, great job, thanks for posting these pics.


 COMMENT 750936P agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-10 01:07 PM

Thanks for this fantastic series of shots! What a sight! I love the quartet of sea lions (?) poking their heads up as if to say "Save some for us."


 COMMENT 750939 agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-10 01:19 PM

I predict many car washes in the near future.


 COMMENT 750965 agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-10 02:59 PM

It's a boil (school of fish frenzy). Fisherpeople look for it because frequently the "boiling to the surface" means something bigger is attacking from below. Guessing anchovies or mackerel are the meal.
Thanks for posting, great pics!


 COMMENT 750992 agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-10 06:12 PM

As Chico Escuela famously stated: "Baitball been berry berry good to me"


 COMMENT 751013P agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-10 07:32 PM

That last pic, with the seals/lions/pinnipeds looking like they're complaining and griping at the birds, is fantastic!
So glad you were there and able to share this with us. Thanks a lot.


 COMMENT 751014P agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-10 07:35 PM

I think I see glossy gray dolphin bodies on the left of the 3rd photo?
wonder if any 2-legged harbor denizens have video? so cool.


 COMMENT 751019P agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-10 07:42 PM

Very nice!!


 COMMENT 751055P agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-10 10:23 PM



 WOODRUFF agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-10 10:52 PM

014P, a little later, right in front of East Beach Grill, about 4-6 dolphins were indeed working the bait. They were incredibly close to shore!


 COMMENT 751077 agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-11 07:42 AM

In the late 60s I saw a similar spectacle from my dorm room (life was tough). The view was from Campus Point to the Goleta Pier. My guess at the time was over ten thousand birds. That was the first time I saw shearwaters from shore.


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