Thursday, January 17, 2008

Morro Bay and San Simeon elephant seals

Last Saturday we took a drive up to San Simeon with the hopes of seeing some Elephant Seal births. We were able to witness two little "weaners" (as they're called) be born. It's a very unusual sight to behold. We were just standing there watching the seals do what they do on the beach, which is primarily sleep. Then Julie noticed a female making some weird movements, like she was breathing really deep and fast. She would frequently scream and bellow out these guttural noises, all the while flicking sand up on her back with her side flippers. I thought maybe she was constipated, but then we saw something slimey and whitish poking out from under her rear flippers. There it was, a newborn seal! There was much rejoicing and oohing and ahhing from the hundreds of people watching. The seals are a popular attraction this time of year, because of the birthing season. A lot of people also came because the news reported that a male had made his way off the beach and wandered across the highway! How he did that is a mystery; these creatures are not very agile or graceful on land. There is a cow pasture near one section of the beach and we noticed that a seal had made it into a drinking hole used by the cattle. It's a funny sight to see a seal laying in the water that a cow is drinking from.
On our way up there we stopped at a town called Morro Bay, which is a cool little beach town. One of its main attractions is the Morro Rock, and it's just that - a big chunk of rock along the beach. We got to see Julie's favorite animal - the otter. An old pelican was there too, as well as a headless sea gull, which mystified Loretta to no end.
Here are some pictures of the trip: