Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Winter Birds and Seals

Last weekend I led a walk for the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival, focusing on elephant seal - bird interactions. We had a good group of about 20 on a beautiful day. A bit sunny for good pictures, but so much going on that every person was delighted.

These two put on a short fight for us, before one chased the other off the beach.

This large pup is ready to be weaned. His mother is slim compared to him. The contrast with a younger, smaller pup and fatter mother close by helped illustrate the fast growth pups go through.

This male was determined to mate with this female, but she was willing. In his recent talk in Cambria, elephant seal researcher Burney LeBoeuf described elephant seal males and the least discriminating breeders in the animal kingdom.

Gulls surround this newborn, glistening in its amniotic sac. That's the most frequent interaction between seals and gulls -- they clean up the beach.

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