|Copyright: Manyee Desandies (manyee)
|Date Taken: 2009-09-27|
|Camera: Canon Powershot SX110IS|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2009-10-17 21:52|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|The Northern Elephant Seal|
The Northern Elephant Seal is an extraordinary marine mammal. It spends eight to ten months a year in the open ocean, diving 1000 to 5000 feet deep for periods of fifteen minutes to two hours, and migrates thousands of miles, twice a year, to its land based rookery for birthing, breeding, molting and rest.
August through November - Molting ends and juveniles return to rest
The last of the molting seals to appear at Piedras Blancas are the sub-adult and adult males. Their number is smaller than the number of molters early in the season but their size and sparring activity add considerable interest. The oldest of the marine mammals, the whales and sirenians, manage to grow new skin at sea but all of the pinnapeds come to shore to replace their aging skin. Rather than circulate the blood outside their blubber to nourish the new skin with the resulting great loss of body heat to the 40 degree water, the elephant seals return to the rookery from their feeding grounds and spend a month on the beach growing new skin in the less challenging environment of the ocean.
It is important to recognize the cost of this on-shore molting. The seals have to leave their feeding grounds for about three months - one month each way for travel time and one month on the beach. While there is limited foraging during the travel, there is complete fasting when at the rookery.
Beginning in August the first of the juveniles appear for the fall haul-out. They overlap the molting males at the beach but there is no ambiguity because of the great difference in size. Their numbers grow reaching a peak around the first of November then decline, with the last leaving the beach to the birthing females and returning males in late December.
While their stay on the beach serves no obvious function - such as molting, birthing and breeding - it not only provides a rest but also establishes the life-long pattern of two visits to the rookery each year. As with the molting males, the juvenile males in the rookery for the fall haul-out take the opportunity to practice their sparring skills.
sandpiper2, Dis. Ac. has marked this note useful
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It looks like you had about the same luck I had with a beaching seal. How close were you to make this photo?
I like the wave action behind the seal and the pose you captured him/her in. It's a pitty that you have some noise on the seal and that it is not as sharp as one would like. Still the moment is the most important thing here.
Great note. Good composition, the looks like its saying "here at last", what an amazing life they lead. TFS
a very nice image from these seal with good low pov and dof in his natural habitat.
I like this shot.
very nice shot for this elephant. it's so cute !! and i like the shore behind