Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Piedras Blancas

When I shot this sunset in 1995 the elephant seal rookery at Piedras Blancas was fairly new and only beginning to get noticed by people driving by. There was no boardwalk, and Friends of the Elephant Seal was still two years away from training its first docents. 

The first boardwalk was built eight years after I shot the sunset photo, with another boardwalk opening in 2010. These elephant seal shots were all taken in April 2008, two years before the north boardwalk was built.

Thanks to the boardwalks, Piedras Blancas is a great place to view elephant seals. I came here once in the winter during pupping season and was astounded by the amazing experience of raw nature as seals gave birth right before our eyes and gulls swooped down to feed on placentas.

In these April 2008 shots, the seals were much more subdued.

Subdued like this seal, whose expression reminds me of my own when on Friday I went up to Mt. Tam to swap new batteries into my wildlife cams, only to find I couldn't get access. The gates are locked at Bootjack and Pantoll, as well as above the Alice Eastwood Group Camp, and even the parking pull-outs along the road are closed.

I'd like to think we're going to pull through this very soon and go back to the days of innocence, lying on the beach in the warm afternoon sun.

But I'm staying prepared for a much longer haul, like an industrious California ground squirrel in spring.

In addition to the numerous ground squirrels, the parking area at Piedras Blancas is also a good place to look for brush rabbits after you've had your fill of elephant seals.

Sometimes there's little else to do than simply enjoy the comforts of home and wait things out. 

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