John & Anne Wiley

2011/03/12

Seal Spotting

Filed under: Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,Nature,Random,SB Region — John @ 04:32

I notice we’ve been sharing lots of pix from our brief flight out to the islands, so I hope you find them intriguing too because here are a few more. First another view of western San Miguel.

6048 Pinniped Paradise

6048 Pinniped Paradise

Now this is just the tip of a small island in the Channel Islands group, so the darker beige clumps along the water that are seal and sea lion colonies (and other pinnipeds) are only a small fraction of those using the islands. They scramble well inland, including on the rocky parts like the area at the left in this pic. More are offshore fishing at any given time.

6051 Beach Life

6051 Beach Life

It’s not easy to see what they’re up to while we’re flying, so I like to study the telephoto pix afterward for a closer look. We need to keep some altitude for safety, and there’s an extra height requested to ensure our presence doesn’t disturb the animals (and a few people) on the beaches. I haven’t yet noticed any researchers in this crop of pix, but often I’ll see a few after most flights because some intrepid scientists are often present. The one thing I seem to have a morbid interest in, is finding a shark or killer whale in one of my pix. From the nature shows I’ve seen, my impression is that the colonies are pretty safe on land and in open water. It’s the transition to and from the beach that’s most dangerous. At greatest risk are pinniped pups out for their first swim, unaware of the danger and ill-equipped to avoid it.

6052 Danger Zone

6052 Danger Zone

In one of my pix from this flight there are several things that could be sharks, but are probably just colony members. Could either of the two things I’ve circled be sharks, or perhaps they’re both fleeing from the black shark-shaped thing between and slightly below them in the pic?

Regardless of whether any sharks were there, the overall magnificence of the scenery sure did flood our senses with beauty and our hearts with joy.

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