Friday, March 7, 2014

Weaner spring days

Nearly all the mothers are gone, returned to the ocean to forage for food and gain some weight. The fertilized egg each mother carries won't start developing until she returns to the beach in May. That gives her a chance to eat and put on some healthy blubber before the embryo begins to require nutrition.

Most of these weaners have molted their wavy black newborn coats and are glowing silvery gray and brown. A couple of them are still peeling off that old coat.
Weaned pups have climbed close to the boardwalk. There's extra fencing there to keep them off, since some of them did get up on the boardwalk last year. Nice close viewing for visitors, though!
The beach seemed a bit empty, until I walked north and looked back to see dozens piled up in the cove.
Quite a few adult males are still on the beach, but they are thin. You can see this  one's hip bones jutting out. One of the researchers said that he thinks the males stay on the beach for a couple of weeks after the mating season just to get some real rest. They sure looked peaceful.

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