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It’s a good time to go watch harbor seals along the coast

Harbor seals sunning along the Northern California coastline. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
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Gary:
A short vacation along the West Coast near Jenner and Fort Ross, CA, gave me a slightly different variety of animals to photograph. The harbor seals were in the area raising their young and though it was cooler the sun was out most of the time surprisingly. These were a few photos collected from our walks along the sea.

The seals seemed pretty content out on the rocks. The small seal (below) had a tough time getting the right wave to join the parents. It finally made it up between two larger seals.
Dave Harper, Oakley, California

Dave:
Harbor seals, weighing up to 300 pounds or more, always remind me of overstuffed sausages. They are VERY common along the California coastline and occasionally even come into San Francisco Bay. They’ve also been spotted up the Sacramento River in the Pittsburg-Antioch area, usually following the salmon or bass.

Did you know they can stay underwater and go without breathing for over 20 minutes? /Gary

Young harbor seal trying to catch a wave and get up on the rocks with its parents. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
1harborseal2 dave harper oakley

Posted on Friday, July 29th, 2011
Under: Harbor seals | 1 Comment »

Abandoned seal pup? Leave Seals Be & call Marine Mammal Center

Harbor seal pup. Photo by The Marine Mammal Center rescue volunteer Rose Kerr.
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Each year The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito launches its “Leave Seals Be” campaign designed to ask the public to call its 24-hour response hotline to report ill or what may appear to be abandoned seal pups along the beach and to not pick them up or attempt to rescue the seals themselves.

Here’s the story:
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, March 19th, 2009
Under: Elephant seals, Harbor seals, Marine Mammal Center, Sea lions | 1 Comment »

Harbor seals are pupping at Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore has the largest mainland breeding colony of harbor seals in California

Resting and pupping harbor seals come onshore in various parts of the park, particularly in Tomales Bay, Tomales Point, Double Point, Drakes Estero and Bolinas Lagoon. About 100 seals congregate within the Estero and Double Point and numerous seals congregate near the mouth of Tomales Bay on tidal sand bars off Dillon beach.

From March 1 through June 30, there is an annual closure of Drakes Estero to protect the seals during this most sensitive time of year. This closure applies to kayak and canoe usage but is also applicable to surfers, wind surfers, abalone divers, and other water sport users around the harbor seal colonies in the area. The National Park Service asks visitors to avoid disturbing the seals to make sure they have a good pupping season. Seal populations will decline when they are disturbed at this time.

In 2007, about 4,000 harbor seals were counted in the area, nearly 900 of which were pups. Seals breeding at Point Reyes represents around 20 percent of the California mainland population.

To ensure the seals aren’t disturbed, visitors are asked to stay at least 100 yards away from resting seals. Never pick up a seal pup that may look abandoned. They’re just waiting for their mothers to return. Pups are about two feet long and weigh about 24 pounds. They are weaned at 30 days after birth.

Harbor seals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

You can find out more about these interesting creatures at http://www.nps.gov/pore

Have fun! /Gary

Posted on Monday, March 3rd, 2008
Under: Harbor seals, Point Reyes | No Comments »

It’s harbor seal pupping season at Point Reyes

The ASPCA Poison Control Center’s Top 10 Calls of 2006 are just below this piece, under March 5, 2007.

Drakes Estero is closed from March 1 through June 30 to protect the harbor seals during this sensitive time of year when they are giving birth.

Point Reyes National Seashore has the largest mainland breeding colony of harbor seals in California. Resting and pupping harbor seals come onshore in various parts of the park particularly in Tomales Bay, Tomales Point, Double Point, Drakes Estero and Bolinas Lagoon. Several hundred seals congregate within the Estero and numerous seals assemble near the mouth of Tomales Bay on tidal sand bars off Dillon Beach.

The closure applies to kayak and canoe usage but is applicable to surfers, windsurfers, abalone divers, and other water sport users around harbor seal colonies in the area. The National Park Service asks park visitors to avoid disturbing seals to ensure a successful pupping season. Research at Point Reyes has demonstrated the harbor seal populations rapidly decline when disturbed during the breeding season.

You can find out a lot more about these interesting marine animals and the beautiful seashore where they live, at the Point Reyes National Seashore Web site at http://www.nps.gov/pore

Even better, pack a picnic lunch and go walk on the beach some Sunday afternoon with someone you care about. There are plenty of spots where you can watch the harbor seals and their pups and the many other marine species that live there. It’s wonderful!

Have you ever seen pelicans diving into the surf after fish? It’s hilarious!

Posted on Wednesday, March 7th, 2007
Under: Harbor seals | No Comments »