Blog

A brief word about ticks

Docents, just a quick reminder about ticks in the park. They are there and they are hungry. Please, please remember to give yourself a quick tick-check after you leave the park. I managed to pick up a tick this last week during a seal count and I have heard of a park employee that picked up a tick in the vicinity of Drakes Beach. If you do find a tick that has embedded, here is what you should do: Remove…

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Peak Mating, Heavy Press, and More

Hi docents and welcome to the Drakes Beach Colony! First of all, THANK YOU for your flexibility and resilience in adjusting to this new colony amid a shutdown that saw us lose about 12 docent days. 12 days! Yet you all have made up for it with an energy and enthusiasm that would be the envy of other volunteer programs in the service. As you’ve probably seen, the park superintendent was out this past weekend and she sent me an…

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Drama to the Southwest of the Ken Patrick Visitor Center

On Tuesday, myself and one of Sarah’s volunteers did a seal count from the Ken Patrick Visitor Center down to the permanent closure. The permanent closure is the closure which if visible from the Elephant Seal Overlook. It was a beautifully cold day with a bit of wind and calm seas. As we rounded the point, I was struck by how much sand has been washed away. This is evidence of the stormy winter that we’ve seen. When we count…

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Drakes Beach Changes Mean WWD Process Updates

Hello Docents, thanks to all of you who were in the park this last weekend. By all accounts, the weekend was a huge success and docents have played a significant role in that success. Because the seals have taken over Drakes Beach, we have made a number of significant changes in the way that we are managing the weekend. Please read ALL of the below notes to better prepare you for your upcoming shifts: Access – the Drakes Beach Access…

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Shutdown Over (for at least 3 weeks)

Remember the halycon training days of December? Who knew that we were barreling towards the longest shutdown in U.S. history? Well, it seems we are slowly ramping up to full, standard operations and the Winter Wildlife season will commence next weekend. Please check your scheduled dates! I’ll be getting up to speed this week and get the latest count on e seals for you.  All of the logistics will be worked on this week and I’ll be in touch via…

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Seals During Shutdown

On Tuesday, I went to the elephant seal overlook to check things out and was delighted to hear the loud sounds of e seal pups as soon as I opened my car door at the Chimney Rock parking lot. I scoped out the seals and counted 9 pups and a total of about 80 seals from the overlook. I then walked to the end of Chimney Rock trail and spent 30 minutes whale watching but no joy.  I very much…

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Elephant Seal Diet Re-examined, Whale Earwax, and a Birthday!

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is “What do elephant seals eat?” and squid is often at the top of the list. But some new research challenges this belief! If you haven’t voraciously sucked up the article yet, like the way an elephant seal sucks up its prey, read “Energy-Rich Mesopelagic Fishes Revealed as a Critical Prey Resource for a Deep-Diving Predator Using Quantitative Fatty Acid Signature Analysis”! Thanks to Sarah Codde for bringing this to my…

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Welcome new crew members to the Winter Wildlife Docent Program!

This past weekend was a great success but, first, please keep fellow docents and all members of your communities in your thoughts as fires continue to rage throughout California. Stay safe! On Saturday, ten new docents, along with fifteen returning docents, were treated to the usual brilliance of Sarah Allen and Sarah Codde. They delivered Whales 101 and Elephant Seals 101 presentations, respectively.  On Sunday, new docents spent time in the field with Sean and me (btw, YAY!, Sean is…

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New Docent Training this Weekend

  2018-19 WINTER WILDLIFE NEW DOCENT TRAINING AGENDA November 10 Saturday, Red Barn Classroom by the Bear Valley Visitor Area  8:00am – 9:00am– Check in, coffee/tea mingle. Complete NPS volunteer forms. 9:00am – 11:00am – “Whales 101.” Sarah Allen, Ph.D. Science Program Lead, Pacific West Region, National Park Service. 11:00am – 11:15am – Break 11:15am – noon – “Winter Wildlife Overview 101.” Carlo Arreglo, Park Ranger – Winter Wildlife Program Manager and Sean Pickton, Lead Winter Wildlife Docent. Noon –…

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