September 9, 2011

Wildlife at San Simeon

Copyright May Rogers
All rights reserved 2011.
Photos shot using Sony DSLR A390

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My memory of San Simeon rolls with the lyrics of The Avett Brothers' TIN MAN. It's like in the movies, playbacks come with background music. My husband was playing "I and Love and You" album singing and humming while I napped. So it got stuck in my head.

the wind upon my face
and caring what it brings this way
the feeling of feeling
these minutes pass away
and caring what I do with them
baby bring me life or something else

so it goes a man grows cold
some would say a man grows strong
they say life only grows short
I say the road only grows long
as long as there's a road
my feet will never touch the ground
if you won't give my heart back
I've no need to stick around

San Simeon was our end destination after the long scenic Monterey Bay drive starting from Carmel down to Cambria. This very laid-back town is breezy with parks, beaches, wildlife, restaurants, ranches and of course, the very famous Hearst Castle.

If you go to a diner around this area, you will see wall galleries of seals and otters - Big Sur's heroes. I was not able to spot otters but sea lions and seals are quite easy to locate. There are vistas around San Simeon where you can see squirrels, bird species and elephant seals.

Squirrels. One of the fastest creatures, for a newbie photographer like me they are almost impossible to capture. But in San Simeon, squirrels smile at photographers in exchange for food. Many tourists feed them because they're cute - right in front the park sign "Don't Feed the Animals". I didn't feed this one so it frowned at me!

Elephant Seals (sea elephant) are distinct due to their noses that resemble the elephants' trunks. They grunt, bicker, snarl, sand-flip, swim and rest. They move slow, dragging their huge bodies inch by inch until they find a comfortable resting spot.

Sparring seals. One of the things they do. Stay and watch you will witness more grunting, sparring, scratching, vocalizing and of course, so much more sleeping. Pretty much what the do all day long. But aren't they super cute?

Feeding? Someone feeds a squirrel, it runs and shares food with others either by this end or the other. I stayed and watched their behavior a bit and noticed that squirrels feed on other's feces. I read an article about it and it says squirrel urine and feces attract other squirrels but it didn't say much whether they do feed on each other's feces or they just like sniffing.

Alarmed. Sizing me up? This squirrel stood still when it saw me approach real close. Squinting its eyes and I'm pretty sure ready to jump on me or run away. Since the squirrels at this vista are very bold, this would even bite a chunk off your shoe leather (well, if they do bite).

Brewer's Blackbird is small with glossy green-blue feathers, almost white round eyes, hopping and foraging parks for food. It was hard to take its photo up close so I was almost satisfied to capture its back but then it turned its head for my photo pleasure.
Western Gull. Very common in California. They are big with white head and body, dark gray back and wings underparts with pink legs. They gather by the shore in groups occassionally flying over water to feed on weeds and fish.

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