Friday, December 30, 2011

2011-2012 Birthing Season Is Upon Us

So far, this season is proving to be quite different from those of recent years as the usual often-seen bloody testosterone-driven territorial fights during the month of December haven't materialized.

Click here to see a video of the only truly bloody fight I've witnessed so far.

Instead, those adult male elephant seals that did come ashore starting in the early part of December came mainly just to rest and then move somewhere else. In the later part of December, some challenges were issued, but very few rose up to test their prowess.

Click here to see a video of some of this year's adult male early beahvior.

In regards to the females, first there were none on the birthing beaches, then only a handful could be seen around the middle of the month. Now, as December draws to a close, not only have many very pregnant females shown up on the smaller birthing beaches, but quite a few are also quickly giving birth to their adorable black pups. However, the normally huge numbers of pregnant females are still conspicuously absent from the big birthing beaches where they've always tended to show up first.

Click here to see video of a gentle giant.

The pregnant females that have arrived have had their flippers specially full this month dealing with the many energetic amorous younger males who are looking to mate with anyone of any age they can coerce into it. Interestingly enough, though, the alpha male will, for the most part, let the females show their skill at getting rid of these ardent younger males. Some of these new mothers have proven to be unusually vicious in defending themselves and their pups from unwanted attention this month.

Click here to see video of females in ferocious defense.

Click here to see photos from the past couple of weeks.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Elephant Seal Land Mid-December

Feisty youngsters will nearly always stand up for their rights even if it means going up against the biggest of the big.

Even though the Fall Haul-Out should be over, there are still many very active and captivating youngsters remaining on varying beaches.

Click here for more photos of youngsters in action.

Even though we're half-way through December, not too many of the 'good olde BIG BOYS' have shown up to claim California winter territory yet. Also, what's even more surprising is the lack of females. In fact, I've only observed a good amount of the fair sex on one beach....a beach that's not usually a birthing beach !

Click here for photos of some of the BIG BOYS.

Click here for video of the only 'Beach Chase' I've seen so far this season.

The younger adult males are busy participating in their preliminary bouts, most of which are lacking in tenacity at this point.

Click here for video of some of the yonger adult males in action.

Maybe the changes in coming ashore can be attributed to good fishing times, that we've been having a lot of off-shore winds and currents, or, just maybe, the elephant seals want to keep everyone in suspense ! Who knows ?

Click here for other photos from the past couple of weeks.

NEWS FLASH....the first pup of this birthing season was born a couple of days ago...probably Thursday, December 15th on one of the pocket beaches. A beach that so far only has 3-5 pregnant females on it. Maybe because this young mother is basically surrounded by males of all ages instead of being in a group of females, she is acting extremely anxious and is aggressively keeping all other elephant seals well away from her newborn baby girl. ( I have been alerted to the fact that a few other pups have been recently born on a couple of the larger beaches. )

Click here for photos of the newborn girl.

Click here for video action of pup and mom.