Sunday, March 27, 2011

First Time Ever

For the first time during nearly 17 years of Elkhorn Slough Safari tours, a Stellars Sea Lion was sighted during a tour. The subadult male was resting out of the water at the mouth of Elkhorn Slough. He was over two times larger than any of the California sea lions also resting there. Captain Yohn Gideon’s description, “The Stellars dwarfed all the other California Sea Lions, he was massive. He had a deep throaty growl, very unlike the barking of our familiar Calif sea lions.”
Stellar sea lions are a threatened species according to USFWS. They had a historic range to as far South as the Channel Islands. Male Steller sea lions can weigh up to 3,000 pounds, and females up to 770 pounds. Males are 10 to 12 feet long (they can be larger than a bear) and females average around 9 feet in length. Currently known from Northern California Coast and sometimes as far south as Ano Nuevo, this is quite rare for Elkhorn Slough or Moss Landing.
This photograph below lets you see how much larger he is than the Calif, sea lions. Photos by Captain Yohn Gideon.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Harbor Seals

The Elkhorn Slough is a well known Harbor Seal resting and pupping area. From the tour we always see large numbers of these seals. This time of year we can "see" pregnant females. Their bellies get obviously swollen much like a woman's. Soon Spring will arrive and we will start to see seal pups on the slough. This seal group seems to be saluting us, however they are just keeping their flippers dry and warm as the tide rises around them.