After kicking off smaller Mauricio, Rusty (above) has settled in as alpha bull on the Sand Flat, historically the largest harem on SEFI. A large chunk is missing from his nose, and Don Quixote (left) has been spotted in the gulches with some gaping wounds on his own nose and back. We suspect there may have been a fight between these two massive, 5,000-pound males. Today we counted 8 subadult males lurking on the outskirts of the Sand Flat harem, so Rusty will have his work cut out to keep them away from "his" cows.
Gimli has been guarding an empty Marine Terrace Sand Flat for the past 10 days. Today he was rewarded for his patience. A pregnant cow just arrived, the first 2009 breeding female for this relatively new harem. Gimli is sporting some impressive scars on his nose and cheek from last year’s big fight with Bedlam Boy. Note in the picture on the right that part of his nose is missing!
Due to the
Finally, Bubba is moving between Garbage Gulch and North Landing, where cows have been arriving but then leaving after just a couple of days. Garbage Gulch typically supports a handful of breeding cows, but thus far no cows have remained there. Bubba, too, has some fresh wounds. Time will tell where this big bull will end up.
The gulches and breeding beaches are still full of immature elephant seals, but they are leaving by the day. Based on the color of their flipper tags, we have seen young seals born on San Nicolas Island, San Miguel Island, Point Reyes, and – best of all – we spotted an immature from Año Nuevo with a satellite tracking device glued to its head. This device allows researchers to track where this young seal is foraging at sea.