In January and February, elephant seals congregate at Ano Nuevo to give birth, raise young and mate. The young are born black, to absorb heat from the sun. the mother nurses them for a month, during which they gain weight from about 750 pounds at birth to about 3000 pounds and turn silver, to reflect the heat from the sun. The mother leaves to feed and the pups, who are not yet strong enough to swim, remain on the beach. They lose the baby fat, but grow muscles and finally leave the beach to learn to hunt. Prior to leaving, the females mate again, for next year's pups. Ano Nuevo is a California state park. The walk to the viewing area is about 3.5 miles round trip, mostly along a groomed path, then through sand dunes to the viewing area. The naturalists are excellent. A great way to spend a warm winter day, but fun even in rain.
Keywords:anonuevostatepark, elephantseals, sealife
© Julie Finley Photography