Monday, April 22, 2013

Sand and sun

It's quiet on the beach these days. Careful youngsters scuffle in the surf, taking an opportunity to build their fighting skills and exercise their dominance instincts. Most remain on the bech, sleeping and letting their skin peel off.

Their skin naturally molts once a year. In the spring, it's the adult females and juveniles of both sexes who are losing their skin. Adult males return in the summer for their molt.

On a sunny, warm day last week, seals up and down the beach were flipping sand onto their backs, like this female.

This is the highest population of seals on the beach, more event than during breeding season. Friends of the Elephant Seal has graphs showing population changes on its site. Note the differences in scale -- many more females and juveniles than adult males.

Sometimes they just bury their noses in the sand.

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