Elephant Seals

Elephant Seals

The sun broke through on our trip down to Año Nuevo State Reserve to see the Elephant Seal breeding ground. There’s a neat California State Park GeoRSS map to find it.

Interesting to learn: at the time a Spanish expedition named the point Año Nuevo, it was still connected to the mainland, and there were no elephant seals present. It wasn’t until the extinction of grizzly bears in California that Elephant Seals started colonies on land; prior they were only seen at places like the Channel Islands. They are basically a huge immobile feast for any passing grizzly. I find these changes in distributions and habitat types really interesting, especially when there’s an indirect human caused origin.

I like the seals. They are humorous on land, a bit blundering and brutal. Graceful in the water. Anna and I saw another colony near Hearst Castle in a visit before we were married. I stuck a photo of one big bull on our wedding flyer back then.


Año Nuevo Bonus. There are abondoned buildings on the Año Nuevo island, built to house the family of the light house keeper, made of redwood showing little signs of decay. The house has been colonized by California Sea Lions .. including the upper floor. California Sea Lions are the only marine mammal that can climb stairs.

californiacoastline.org has this aerial imagery of Año Nuevo.