Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Lots of animals on the beach, mature females and juveniles of both sexes. May is actually the high point for total number of seals on the beach, more even than the breeding season. This picture shows the south end of the beach.

Vistors often ask where the elephant seals are, since the juveniles and females don't have the characteristic trunk-like nose (technically, proboscis) that gives elephant seals their name. Males develop that nose, starting around five years old, so its size is a rough indicator of age during those adolescent years, from five to eight. Females never develop the nose.
The state, despite its financial woes, had designated money to build a boardwalk at the north end of the viewpoint. State employees were out on the bluff on Monday, walking the area and getting ready to start construction. Now, it's a very rough trail at that end.

I've developed a real hatred of thistles, and was horrified to find some growing out there. It's the nastiest weed I can think of, the Pricker Weed from Hell. The spines are so strong and sharp that they penetrate even leather gloves. I've made it my mission to remove it from a local park, so I couldn't stop myself from removing it at the viewpoint.
The main goal is to prevent it from blooming and sending its millions of seeds to colonize other areas. The maintenance supervisor told me they'd remove it when they build the boardwalk, so just topping the flowers off the plants will be good enough for now. I pull as many of the plants as I can.
It's way worse than poison oak. We have some of that along the trail, but somehow I feel like poison oak stays to itself. Thistles want to conquer the world with their evil spiny leaves.

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