Monday, November 28, 2011

Astronomical Tides Causing Problems

Abnormally high and low tides have created quite a problem for the elephant seals on some of the central coast beaches.

Click here for more photos of the latest characters.

Thanks to huge mounds of kelp raising the height of some small beaches though, small havens have been formed where youngsters and pregnant females can get some rest ahead of the fast approaching birthing and mating seasons. Not finding room on what precious beach land that is available during the high tides, many of the rather feisty younger adult males have often been forced to stay off-shore and conduct their preliminary dominance fights in the water rather than on land. And many have proved themselves very adept at dealing aquatic punishing blows without the support of solid land beneath them. ( Interestingly enough, it seems that when the sea is in turmoil the elephant seals tend to be more aggressive. )

Click here for video of action-packed sub-adult male elephant seals.

A few larger adult males have already made it to shore, but apart from one bloody adult male, most of them seem content to sleep in preparation for the upcoming territorial fights.

Click here for video of pregnant females doing their thing.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sub-Adult Males Are Dominating the Beaches and Shallows

Alongside the tan-colored bodies of mainly younger elephant seals that have been adorning some of the beaches of the Piedras Blancas elephant seal colony on the central coast of California for the past couple of months, more and more sub-adult males can be seen as well as heard.

Many of the sub-adult males are showing up in a feisty mood and have been putting on spectacular minor pugilistic shows both on land and in the shallows of the bays.

( Equality in size doesn't seem to be important as you can often observe much younger elephant seals challenging more mature ones. )

From the day they're born, most male elephant seals seem to spend much of their waking hours trying to dominate others, both male and female.

( It would be interesting to know how far back their memories stretch as sometimes they sniff each other upon meeting and don't engage in any sort of superiority fight at all. Whereas, at other times, they either sniff one another and immediately start to fight, or don't sniff at all but start fighting with little or no warning. )

A few of these newcomers, on the other hand, appear to be enjoying themselves peacefully floating around, eyes closed, under the surface in the unusually clear bay water. Then, there are still others that appear to be searching around for something, maybe something edible, in the nooks and crannies of the rocks in the shallow coastal water.

Click here for video of sub-adult males enjoying life in Californnia.

No matter the time of year, each elephant seal season always has something truly fantastic to present to the human onlookers.

Click here for photos.

Click here for video of sub-adult males in dominance mode.