Picture Postcard – Año Nuevo State Park

What an adorable face on this elephant seal yearling.

California’s Año Nuevo State Park is visited twice a year by elephant seals. Once in the summer when they are molting and the second is the more thrilling time spent birthing pups and mating. We recently spent a rainy day out watching the seals on a guided walk through this nature reserve and research site.

In December, the males begin returning to the beach soon to be followed by the females. While the males are busy fighting for dominance, the pregnant females are giving birth. Their pups will nurse for about a month and then are left on their own. The adults will mate before heading back out to sea.

The pups spend another month or two continuing to grow off the fat reserves from nursing and learning to swim in the shallow waters of river mouths that come off the mountains. Then it’s off to join the others for a time of feasting along a route that has been tracked across the international date line!

 

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Welcome to my series of travel postcards that I post once a week. Click on the card for a larger view.

 

 

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