Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Drying up the path

The CCC crew,, that built the new trail got some additional gravel and filled the holes in the path Monday. Very welcome, as they were full of water, making the path one deep puddle after another. Thanks!

I and other elephant seal docents joined the crew for lunch on Tuesday. Sebastian's in San Simeon,, contributed the crew's lunches. Thanks, Sebastian's! These young people have worked very hard to build a new trail and boardwalk for us and the many visitors to the viewpoint. It was a privilege to sit down and meet them. The supervisor told us this trail was the biggest CCC project he had supervised to date.

Thousands of elephant seals have arrived on the beach. It's crowded in places, but the mood is calm and restful. Even the youngsters who tussle with each other don't seem to take it seriously.

The north end of the beach remains narrow. A lot of sand was washed away in last winter's storms. at high tide on Tuesday, little dry land was left untouched by waves. In the past, there's been plenty of room for pups to be born and grow to be weaned. I'm concerned for any pups born on that end of the beach this year.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Glorious Fall day

Does it get any better than today? Sunny but not too warm, light breeze, thousands of seals on the beach. It's a high tide today, just after the New Moon. Even though, it's easy to see how much of the beach remains above the high tide line. They seemed to catch the Fall spirit.

Most rested, some young males sparred. More continued to arrive.

Elephant seals raise their flippers to cool off, the way elephants use their ears. Blood circulates and cools down, helping them stay cool in the sun. They are good at retaining heat under their blubber. Their bodies have fewer ways of dispersing heat, something they need on land but not under water.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fall Haul-Out

The females and juvenile males return to the beach for a four- to six-week rest in September and October. More seals arrive every day.

These youngsters look healthy and content.

European travelers continue to account for half the visitors, but lots of Americans are taking a fall vacation, too. A nice couple from Florida told me about their experiences with manatees on Monday. Those pups are gentle enough to pet, they said.

The bluff is a great place for bird-watching as well. These Elegant Terns are migrants from Southern California at this time of year. They congregate with the gray Heerman's Gulls, migrants from Mexico, and the resident California Gulls.