Monday, September 26, 2011

Continuing Fall Haul-Out

As the Fall Haul-Out continues, seaweed seems to be a huge favorite amongst the seafaring youngsters. Time and again, one can see young elephant seals twirling, shaking, and swallowing colorful pieces of different kinds of seaweed. To what end, you might ask ? Maybe the energetic youngsters are consuming their nutritional veggies ?

Energetic young males on high alert in the shallow bay waters, often keep pace with people walking along the bluffs....probably trying to determine if these people are a threat/challenge to them. Once they decide that these curious land-mammals are not intent on engaging them, the youngsters return to their own boisterous activities.

A few more mature young females can now also be spotted catching some R&R amongst the pale tan-colored younger elephant seals on the beaches.

Soon the eager-to-engage-in-dominance-fights older young males will also be showing up for their turn at the Fall Haul-Out at Elephant Seal Land on the central coast of California.

Click here for more photos.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Versatile Fore-Flipper Action

When I first started reseaching the central coast elephant seals, I was told that they hardly use their fore-flippers at all. However, having observed, photographed and videotaped them for a few years, I find I have to disagree.

These human-like 'hands' are constantly in use both on shore and in the water. Some of their land uses include, the obvious scratching of various parts of their body...batting away an unwanted intruder....using the long nails as a sharp retaliatory weapon...clasping an antagonistic eseal in a hugging motion....helping haul the ungainly-on-land body across rocks and sand.

Then there's the water. Recently, I have been fortunate enough to witness and videotape how they use their fore-flippers in a rather human-like way as they bottle and twirl around in the coastal bays.

Bottling is where they seem to be floating vertically in the water but are actually arching their upper torso upright and backwards. They hold this position by moving their fore-flippers in a circular motion much as synchronized swimmers would do with their arms and hands to stay upright.

What is the purpose of bottling ? This arching of the upper torso in the water, which seems to only be carried out by male elephant seals, obviously helps them quickly discern who's approaching both above them on the beaches and the bluffs as well as in the water. Bottling seems to be the action of choice when the males of all ages first come to the coastal waters. After that it seems to be more of a sporadic event. Apart from finding out who their immediate compadres and competition are, maybe they're also preparing and strengthening their fore-flippers for the switchover to land movement. After all, for the huge adult males, hauling a couple of tons of blubber across land at the high speed of 10+ m.p.h. is no mean feat !

Watch this video as they use their fore-flippers in an almost human or dophin-like way in their aquatic maneuvers.

Click here for photos showing fore-flipper versatility.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Elephant Seal Seasons at Piedras Blancas, CA

To find out when which elephant seals are at the Piedras Blancas colony on the central coast of California, you should take a look at my newly released ebook at The straight-forward descriptions provide ample information, and the accompanying high quality color photos of these fascinating marine mammals complete the picture.

Click here for direct link.

You can also watch this promo video on my YouTube Channel, Elephant Seal Action Videos. Click here to find out more about this book.

Keep an eye out for hardcopies that will soon be available on

Hope you find this informative.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Start of the Fall Haul-Out

As almost all the big adult male elephant seals have left to fortify their strength and body weight in preparation for the up-coming December territorial fights, the beaches along the central coast of California are currently occupied by only a few dozen mainly tan-furred youngsters doing their thing.

As September heads towards October in this Fall Haul-Out season, however, more and more elephant seals in the younger age brackets will be looking to enjoy spending some quality shore-time on these usually noisy and busy beaches.

Adding to the mix of weaners and yearlings as we go through October, energy-filled ‘teenage’ males will be charging ashore delighting onlookers with their rock-’n’-roll style fights. In addition, alongside these combative youngsters, a few pregnant young females will also be trying to get some shore-rest on the ‘quiet side of town’ away from the boisterous young males.

Click here see video of a young elephant seal wrestling seaweed.

Click here to see more photos.