Monday, November 8, 2010

Beach changes

Lots of elephant seals, mostly juveniles, are on the beach. More seem to be arriving. The new trail opens up more viewing area at the north end. One rested on his back under water, showing his light belly under a foot or so of water.

One small female gave birth to an undersized pup, a fetus really, which did not survive. There were a few early births last year. Even the ones that are large and apparently fully developed don't survive when they are born outside the usual season. I don't know whether anyone knows anything about these early births.

One day after the new moon, the tide was high today, although not as high as it will be during the winter. There's hardly any beach above high tide line at the north end. I'm concerned about any mothers who arrive on that beach at low tide to have their pups. They probably won't survive. We'll see how the season progresses.

In the docent training last weekend, USGS Wildlife Biologist Brian Hatfield asked docents to report all shark wounds and scars. He said he has expected to see an increase in shark attacks, but hasn't documented that. In October, a surfer was killed by a shark about a hundred miles south of Piedras Blancas, at Vandenberg,

These Royal Terns are still enjoying life on the beach, too. A few Heerman's Gulls are there, as well. I didn't see the rare Ivory Gull reported at Pismo Beach to the south,

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