Sharks in Isla Vista

By Robert Bernstein

September seems to bring leopard sharks to the beach at Isla Vista, although I have seen them gather here at other times. It is hard to get good photos or videos as the water is quite murky and roiled and the sharks are usually right at the water’s edge.

Back in July 2017 Merlie and I waded in among the sharks with other people and were delighted with how they swam between our legs, largely oblivious to our presence. Apparently, they have small mouths adapted to eating small crustaceans and other prey like sand crabs.

I gave up trying to get the perfect photos or videos and just did the best I could. Here are two videos from September 7. On that day the sharks were swimming from east to west one at a time. About one every few minutes.

A month earlier, on August 15, the scene was different. There was a bit of a frenzy of sharks swirling around. It was harder to get a clear view, but the sheer number and activity level was impressive.

In the video you can see a young woman was also making a video with her phone and we talked afterwards about the wonderful scene.

Just minutes after that, I was heading west near the UCSB Cliff House and encountered this beautiful young gopher snake stretched across the trail. I was able to get this short video of it flicking its tongue out and then disappearing into the brush.

But you don’t have to venture far from home to see wildlife. Yesterday, Merlie spotted this praying mantis right outside our door.

I was grateful to get this photo as it turned its head to look right at me.


Written by sbrobert

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