||Año Nuevo State Reserve
||January 19, 2008
||January 23, 2008
Six camera club members and guests met at 8:15 am at the
Año Nuevo State Reserve
visitor’s center for a morning
of photographing Northern Elephant Seals. Although we
arrived without reservations for the "Elephant Seal Walk",
we hoped to fill in for some no-shows. The first two
walks were completely full, filled with a busload of teens.
But wait! - the ranger said that there would be a special
walk at 10:15 that would fit us all!
We had about an hour to explore around the visitor center
area and decided to walk down to the beach. A small
creek flowed into a small lagoon and then to the ocean -
in the lagoon were two juvenile elephant seals.
Both were males too young for breeding and were destined
to spend the season on this "loser’s beach". Even among
the younger seals, there was an apparent "pecking order" -
one chased the other from "his" lagoon.
Northern Elephant Seals (Mirounga angustirostris) are the
largest pinnipeds in the northern hemisphere -
only the Southern Elephant Seal species is larger.
Northern Elephant Seals facts:
With temperatures in the 50’s, sunny skies and no wind,
we couldn’t have asked for a better day. After hours
of walking on sand dunes, photographing and learning
about seals (and viewing a coyote on the beach), we
headed back to our cars. Lunch at
in Pescadero was what we needed! From artichoke soup to
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
to lamb chops to hamburger and
we enjoyed our lunch. The planned
stop at Butano Redwoods State Park would have to wait
for another time - we were just too tied.
adult males can reach a length of 18 feet and a weight of
they have the longest annual migration of any mammal -
up to 20,000 miles
e-seal pups weigh 60-80 pounds at birth and are weened
four weeks later at a weight of 300-600 pounds.
they can hold their breath for over 80 minutes - longer
than any other non-cetacean mammal
they can dive to over 5,000 feet beneath the ocean's
surface - deeper than any other mammal
they spend up to 80 percent of their lives in the ocean -
when feeding, they spend 90% of their time under water
(they don’t sleep, except on land)
View some of my pictures from Año Nuevo:
© 2008 D. J. Herzstein