Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Warm and sunny, with a chance of sharks

The juvenile seals are on the beach in numbers now, with more arriving every day. It's a great time to see the seals. So many includes lots of variety in size and development. No mature males with their long proboscis, but so what. There's plenty else to see.

They line the beach. This is the north end. It was a high tide, five feet, but tides can be higher. This one covers the beach at a couple of places. This is a problem during the breeding season, when pups may be washed away. Pups can't swim when they are born.

Young males enjoy engaging each other in battle, even if the stakes aren't very high yet. When they are adults, it's serious. That will come later in the year, in January and February, when only the dominant males get to breed.
Youngsters tussle in the water, too. It's as natural for them to be washing around in the waves or under water as it is on land.
Less happily, seals show evidence of shark attacks. Juveniles make a good, fat meal for sharks, and this is an important feeding time for sharks along the central coast. Thus far, scientists haven't found sharks feeding much in this area, but it's busy in the Farallon Islands and at Ano Nuevo. For this seal, it was a big bite.

She went back into the water and wasn't sighted again. She may have died but it's not unknown for seals to survive astonishing wounds. I saw this seal feeding her pup last year.

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