We watched the harbor seals bobbing in Yaquina Bay while we had lunch on the South Jetty, Newport. It was 90F yesterday!
Today, I looked for seal pups from the Alsea Bay Bridge.
I think there were a few but this was the closest one to me.
The funniest thing happened…all at once, about 20 – 30 seals lept off the beach into the bay. I couldn’t see any reason for it.
Maybe that’s how they leave the beach…all at once?
The cormorants are interesting to watch too. They seem to have their favorite spots where they know they can find seaweed under water. They dive to gather it off the bottom. They come up with a mouthful and fly off with it. I think they nest somewhere under the bridge. I saw them fly under the bridge but I didn’t think to watch to see if they came out the other side.
My guess is that this is a 2nd or 3rd year Bald Eagle. This was as clear of a photo I could get from the Alsea Bay Bridge this evening.
The Harbor Seal pupping season brings in the scavengers.
Seals give birth to their pups close to the water, if not IN the water. I think because it’s easier for Mom to protect the pups from hungry seagulls who are the first to arrive.
As the pup is being born the seagulls are trying to pick off the nutrient-rich placenta; or maybe the lanugo (protective coat which is shed in utero).
When another seal hauls out nearby, Mom puts herself between her pup and the other seal. Looks like she’s laying down the rules. Once she’s convinced there’s no threat, she moves back to the best position for the pup. I think the pup is facing her in the photo below.
I didn’t see the new pup move. They are able to swim and open their eyes as soon as they are born so I don’t know if this one is doing too well. I didn’t even see it nurse. But then they only nurse for a minute every 3 hours. They must really suck it down though, they double their body weight in 6 weeks.
The seals were split into 2 groups today. The pup and eagle are in the far group. I didn’t see any pups in the closer group. There is another, smaller, group west of the bridge.
People can walk to that haulout so I expect the seals won’t stay there long if people keep bothering them. Some don’t think they’re bothering the seals by moving slowly and quietly while they try to get as close as they can without a seal moving off. But all the seals keep an eye on the people, so you know there is some tension. Tension is not something a mother in labor needs more of. So please watch from the bridge with your binoculars.
I’m keeping a close eye on the Harbor Seals from the Alsea Bay Bridge, Waldport, Oregon.
There is lots of activity out there!
Harbor seals don’t have much contact, other than during mating season and pre-pupping season.
According to SeaWorld: Prior to the pupping season, males and females exhibit pre-mating activity such as rolling, bubble-blowing, and mouthing each other’s necks. This pre-mating behavior ends with the beginning of the pupping season.
I have never seen them move so fast on the sand before. They would dart out of the water to shoot up onto the beach.
One might interact for a minute with another on-shore. Then dart back into the water.
Harbor Seals usually keep space between them when hauled out; whereas Sea Lions lay all over each other.