Tag Archives: sea lions

Who doesn’t enjoy blue sky?

I guess even sea lions get cabin fever now and then.  Give them blue sky and calm seas and you may see them outside of Sea Lion Caves; north of Florence, Oregon, on Highway 101.  Just north of the caves there is a pullout; the vantage point for the “most photographed lighthouse on the Oregon Coast”.  The lighthouse keeper’s house is a bed and breakfast:  Heceta Head Lighthouse

heceta head lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse

Park your car, get out and listen.  If you can hear the sea lions barking, look over the rock wall to the cliffs below.  These are a mix of California and Stellar Sea Lions.

sea lion haul out
Sea Lions Hauling Out

They complain a lot but they like to snuggle.

sea lions
Mom! He’s touching me!

On the other side of the cliff, closer to the caves, another group of sea lions climb the steep cliff; hugging the side to get to the top.

sea lion rock climbers
Sea Lions are great rock climbers
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Fall on the Oregon Coast

We took a drive to Florence, OR, for Veteran’s Day.

hwy 101 central oregon coast
Blue sky drive on Hwy 101 between Yachats and Florence

What a beautiful day it was!  I’m glad we went yesterday because today is cloudy and cold.

spindrift
Spindrift

Off-shore winds were making some pretty spindrifts over the waves.

oregon coast sea lions
Sea Lions – soakin’ up the sun

I guess the sea lions get cabin fever too.  They were all out soakin’ up the sun; either on the rocks or out in the ocean.  This is just north of Sea Lion Caves at the Heceta Head Lighthouse overlook.  The wind was just right so that we could smell their stinky breath (or bodies?) from way up on the ledge.  Imagine what they smell like in the confined space of the Sea Lion Caves!  I love watching them crawl all over each other and listen to them bark as they step on each others toes.  Other viewers cheered them on as the sea lions climbed up the cliff and hung on through the crashing waves.  How do they do it without fingers and the proper rock climbing equipment?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD0SADiph5g]

Sea Lion mom focuses on her ONE pup

The weekly photo challenge is: ONE

Heceta Lighthouse Overlook near Sea Lion Caves
Heceta Lighthouse Overlook near Sea Lion Caves

Aside from the beautiful view of the lone lighthouse on the point, we stop here to listen and watch the sea lions (at the bottom of the photo).  By the way, this is on Highway ONE-oh-ONE on the Oregon Coast.

Sea Lion branded: 412Y
Sea Lion branded: 412Y

I love how they lay all over each other.  They look so comfortable in spite of the rough, hard, rocks they use for nap-matts.

2 branded Sea Lions: 440R and 364Y
2 branded Sea Lions: 440R and 364Y

Although the large number of sea lions in the group amazes me, I like to look at each ONE.  I’ll find the history on the 3 brands I found.  I saw 3 or 4 more but couldn’t get the whole brand.  I like the expression on the one at the top of the above photo.  It makes me think of the sound that Scooby-Doo makes when someone says something silly.

Sea Lion pup kissing mommy
Sea Lion pup kissing mommy

Of course the sea lion mom has to focus on the ONE; after all, she IS a mom!  But for the pup, she is the only ONE that matters.

The Coast is Clear for Thanksgiving!

The Oregon coast is clear this Thanksgiving week!

heceta head lighthouse
Most photographed lighthouse on the Oregon Coast

What a beautiful day it was yesterday!

Sea Lion Rock at Heceta Overlook
Sea Lion Rock at Heceta Overlook

Don’t forget to look over the edge after you enjoy the lighthouse view at the overlook north of Sea Lion Caves on Hwy 101.

sea lions oregon coast
Sea Lion Mosh Pit

The biggest group were the Stellars and they were pretty vocal.  There are lots of little ones climbing over.

branded stellar sea lions
Stellar Sea Lions – 2 branded

I saw 3 branded Stellars in all.  I can’t quite make out the brand on the one in the bottom center of the group above; can you?

Stellar Sea Lion 955R
Stellar Sea Lion 955R

I’ll update this when I get a background on 955R:  This is a female branded in 2011 on Rogue Reef, Oregon Coast.

branded stellar sea lion
Can you make out this brand?

Here’s another brand I can’t quite make out.

sea lion mammary glands
Sea Lions have 4 mammaries

I learned something new about sea lions!  While seals (pinnipeds without ear flaps) only have 2 mammary glands, sea lions (or eared seals) have 4.  I guess the subject never came up.

sea lion hug
Group hug!

Did you know that sea lions can move up to 19 mph on land and 30 mph under water?  So, don’t think you can out run a sea lion on land!

California Sea Lions
California Sea Lions

There was a smaller harem of California Sea Lions who staked out a couple napping spots of their own.  The Californians have the bump on their forehead.

sea lions in ocean
Circling the wagons

The ocean was a beautiful color yesterday too.

Frosty Trees

Cold temps and fog made pretty, frosty, trees on Alsea Mountain Pass today.

Frosty Pass - Coast Range
Frosty Pass – Coast Range

A car-picnic at Eckman Lake watchin’ the mallards on the Bay side of the causeway.

Mallards - Eckman Lake
Mallards – Eckman Lake

Crabbers are really workin’ it.

Watchin' the Crabbers from Tillicum
Watchin’ the Crabbers from Tillicum
Crabbers
Crabbers

We saw a couple rafts of sea lions off Tillicum Beach too.

Watchin' the Sea Lions from Tillicum
Watchin’ the Sea Lions from Tillicum

Sea Lion Travels

I have a kind friend, Shawn, in the National Fish and Wildlife Service on the Oregon coast who puts up with me.

Anytime I catch an animal or bird, on camera, that has a brand or a tag, he does some research and tells me what he’s found.

Branded Sea Lions - 8063 and 8329
Branded Sea Lions – 8063 and 8329

I found out that the two were “branded as pups at San Miguel Island, CA as part of a NMFS California sea lion demography program.  8063 was branded in 2004 and 8329 was branded in 2005.  Both have been seen regularly at Ano Nuevo, San Miguel and other sites along the CA coast but this is the first sighting of them in Oregon.” according to Sharon Melin with NOAA.  Here’s more info about the Pinniped Rookeries and Haul-outs in that area.

If you can’t see which sea lions are branded above, I’ve circled them in this photo:

Branded Sea Lions Circled
Branded Sea Lions Circled

That’s a long way to swim!  It’s 620 miles for us humans to drive the distance from Heceta Head Lighthouse, Yachats, OR, to San Miguel, CA.  As “the crow flies” would be shorter.  Although sea lions also (sort of ) fly through the water, I can’t see a sea lion making a “bee-line” for the destination.  It seems like their travel would be more focused on the journey than the destination?

Thanks Shawn and Sharon!

Thunderstorms and Sea Lions

We made a run to Florence today.  Yay!  To the BEACH!

Travelling down the Alsea Hwy from Tidewater wasn’t a problem after the recent rain/wind storm.  Hwy 20 was affected more.  Hwy 101 from Waldport to Florence was also clear.

Tillicum Stairway
Tillicum Stairway

We just had to stop in to Tillicum Campground to check out the beach.  The rain is washing some of the sand off the stairway.  Winter storms will probably continue to was sand off the beach.  Maybe we’ll see some agates this winter?

Heceta Lighthouse
Heceta Lighthouse

We haven’t seen the lighthouse since they took the cover back off so I had to get a photo of her new coat of paint.  They haven’t finished restoring the lens yet.  We had thunder showers most of the day.  As Don put it, “we travelled through all the seasons” today.

Sea Lions At Heceta Lighthouse Overlook
Sea Lions At Heceta Lighthouse Overlook

There was a car at the north end of the Heceta overlook pullout so we parked at the south end.  Three people were SO excited to call me over to look at all the sea lions!

Sea Lion Mosh Pit
Sea Lion Mosh Pit – Can you see one rock in there?

You can hardly see the rocks they are resting on!  Everytime one would move they’d bark at each other.  “GET YOUR BONEY FLIPPER OUT OF MY BACK!”  “QUIT SQUIRMING!”   “SHUT UP!  I’M TRYING TO SLEEP!”  It just went ON and ON and ON!  hahaha

Branded Sea Lions 8063 and 8329
Branded Sea Lions 8063 and 8329

Found a couple branded sea lions too!  I’ll ask my Forest Service friend about them and edit this post if he can find out anything about them.  Sometimes they’ve been able to tell me where, why and when they were branded.  Some are branded as pups as part of a study.  Others are because they were being a “nuisance” to the salmon.