Thursday, May 26, 2011
My Kind of Nature Watching
A few miles north of San Simeon is a rookery for Northern Elephant Seal. That was where we went following the Hearst Castle tour. However, I am not sure this is the same rookery. But it is close to it. This beach has viewing area and elephant seals lounging about and it was the closest to San Simeon.
The northern elephant seal spends 8 to 10 months a year in the open ocean. From mid March to mid September they come to the beach to molt - where they grow old skin and hair and shed the old. They molt on the rookery because molting on the open ocean requires enormous energy.
While on the rookery, they fast, no food or water. Fasting necessitates quiet life, lots of sleeping not much moving around.
"The young males, however, do use this time as an opportunity to joust with each other, playfully developing skills that are vital to them as adults. Much of this sparring takes place in the tide pool areas just off shore at times determined more by tide than sun."
We were planning on visiting the lighthouse, but it was closed. I didn't make a thorough research. But being locked out (lol) of the lighthouse was a blessing in disguise as I was able to observe these elephant seals. I have visited another beach on Ano Nuevo State Park where they also visit and it also along this coast.
Click here for more information about this rookery.