Hi docent crew,
Another successful weekend concluded at Drakes! The rainy weather kept visitation lower compared to previous weekends with docent contacts at 394 on Sat 3/3 and 679 on Sun 3/4. Did I mention it was rainy? It wasn’t a heavy downpour but a steady, chilly rain that persisted both days. Cows are low, five or less with at least two pups still being weaned. Saturday was quite active with that males; Sunday was pretty quiet. Carlo tried out Instagram Live on Saturday and did four broadcasts about the seals and managed to get vid of males trumpeting. Follow the park on Instagram if you haven’t already! @PointReyesNPS. But for now it’s all about the weaned pups and the next few weeks as they prepare for their first oceanic foray!
There were a few questions that I wanted to update. One was the perennial Are there studies about males crushing pups? LeBoeuf did some work on this in the early 90s but as far as the park’s marine ecologist knows, there are no contemporary peer-reviewed scientific articles about pup mortality due to male trampling. Current researchers are putting time, labor, and money into other research areas.
Are there other pinnipeds that spend as much time off-shore as elephant seals? Yes, fur seals. Those are the two questions that come to mind. Actually, if you have questions that you can’t find the answer for in the docent manual or other resources, email me or Sean and I can compile a new FAQ.
Finally, dozens of us saw a river otter come out of the surf with an avian snack (possibly an aptly named Surf Scoter). If you see any river otters, please submit your sightings to the River Otter Ecology Project. Thanks again for volunteering for this program and Point Reyes National Seashore!