Monday, December 16, 2013

Harbor Seal

The harbor seal is found in the Northern Hemisphere in the North Atlantic, North Pacific, North Sea and Baltic Sea. There are five subspecies and the one I'm familiar with is the Pacific or Californian harbor seal, found off the coast of California. Like fingerprints, each harbor seal has a unique pattern of spots, dark on a light background or vice verse. They have V-shaped nostrils, short flippers that make them appear clumsy and rolly polly on land (like a beached whale) and no ear flap. They like to stick to familiar resting spots where they are protected from predators and can readily forage. 
Harbor seals at Elkhorn Slough near Monterey.
I've not seen any recently, but have fond recollections of seeing them on drives with our young family up the California coast in the area between Pismo Beach and San Simeon State Park. One particularly great activity was just outside of Monterey where we rented kayaks and paddled up the Elkhorn Slough. There we saw a profusion of harbor seals and sea otters.  
At San Simeon State Park.
At Leffingwell Landing.
Nose out of the water at Elkhorn Slough.
At Elkhorn Slough.
Elkhorn Slough
Elkhorn Slough
Leffingwell Landing
Leffingwell Landing.

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