Friday, April 18, 2008

Day FourB - Birds & Mammals

Well, I've dragged this vacation slideshow on long enough... here's the last installment ;)

Once I hit Highway One, it seemed my wildflower spotting was over with. There was the occasional lupine show on a hillside, but no good places to pull over and set up for some picture taking. But it was a beautiful day, and with it being in the middle of the week, a lot less cars on the road. This was a Thursday. On my way down it was a Monday, and being the day after Easter, likely accounts for the additional traffic.

I would occasionally spot a vista point sign and decide to pull over. At one of them, I spotted a squirrel begging for food... and shortly thereafter, in a private moment with another right in plain sight. Of course, it is spring!

I then moved onto another spot and when I pulled in a crow just as haughty as can be, chose not to fly off no matter how close I was to it. (i only got 3 feet away - i didn't want to scare it off) There I also saw in the water, an egret doing it's thing.
egret 05

After trying pretty hard for a while to wish some turkey vultures near me to try to practice a little more on flying pictures and my camera settings for that, I captured a decent one. I would so love to have one back again with it flying right towards me. But this is alright for now.

Well, I had taken enough shots there... I was also getting more than enough sun ;) So I got back in the car and headed north again. Just north of San Simeon, at Piedras Blancas, I saw the sign for the Elephant Seal Vista Point and I turned in there. A LOT of people were there, but the state built plenty of parking for all, so it wasn't too bad in the lot. The pathway to see them is a bit wall-to-wall, but really, who can blame people for wanting to see them. Heck, I was one too.
I took a LOT... and i mean a LOT of pictures of them. These were the weaners... meaning they were weaned from their mamas and their mamas had ditched them to live on their own. The weaners stick around on the beach honing their swimming skills until it's time for them to try the open waters.



These ones were silvery which means they've finished their molt and probably will be one of the first remaining on the beach to take off.

I also spotted this bird just hanging out with the elephant seals. It minded it's own business and so did the seals.
Bird identified: Young Western Seagull
Thanks to Charlie of 10,000 Birds who responded to my mom's inquiry. Thank you!


No Cool Story said...

No way!
Did you relaly get that close to the seals?

Cool pictures!

Mary C said...

Red, I'll see if I can find out what bird that is, and let you know.

Red said...

Hiya NCS :) I was probably 10-15 feet away from them and used a 100-400mm lens to get those super close views. The pathway is kinda on a ledge about 3 feet up from the actual beach and there was fencing... not significant enough if someone was messing with the elephant seals, but enough to feel safe.

Thanks for looking mom :) Western Seagull... you were right :D


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