Marine Mammal Observations and Global Climate Change

I feel this urge to tell about lifeforms that will be gone for sure this century; more towards the second half of this century. I feel we, as a species, need to pay attention to our plight or we will not be around to catch the next century.

YES! That is how  I feel. I really believe it . My feeling is there is nothing I can do to change that. I really feel human change agents are few and far between and they only will change so much of humanity, not enough to change the way we all do things…irresponsable at times. I would call Mohatma Ghandi or  Henry David Thoreau, change agents, but their collective impacts only go so far.

For many, Jesus Christ is a change agent, but what I see about global warming in the religious strikes me as too little, too late…”oh yee of little faith” (that would be me)…but I think you get the point…I definitely got up on the wrong side of the bed today.

Naturalistjourneys, you say?

 I know very little about ants much to E.O. Wilson’s chagrin, or not,  and I learned the Embdenmyerhoff Pathway on a sheet of hand towels back in the day when I was a waster of things like paper towels.

 I do know a little about mammals, plants and birds, at least enough to almost satisfy me. So here are recent observations of marine mammals near Santa Cruz, California and some other sitings that come to mind and may be of interest.

 I sat above a bench by a beach (small) called Sunny Cove about 5 blocks from my little sisters.

At times the beach had a sampling of boogey borders, labs (mostly), nearby surfers, lovers and teens-mostly standing in the wind-smoking weed out of the judgement of most parents.

I sat on a bench, watched birds, drank coffee, drank water, ate sandwiches and ate bannanas or candy from a nearby dollar store that was great. I watched a riveting sun set over Monteray Bay and watched enough marine mammals to say ” this was a good site for the daily marine mammal.”

I did see sea otters, at least 3 times, swimming on their back and occasionally diving for abelone, which I saw one otter cracking and eating.

I saw bottlenose dolphins and harbor porpoises  come out of the water just beyond the surfer zone, (I called that area the zone. Surfers bobbed up and down, looking for the right wave to surf on).

I saw California Sea Lions even swimming in the zone, I saw a harbor seal spying on nearby surfers, elephant seals swimming just beyond the surfers.

I saw 3 whales swimming way out in Monteray Bay. Humpbacks and Grays could both be passing at this time so I assumed it was one or the other. I just saw water spouts and a fluke…the whales were in my binochulars, way beyond eye range.

This reminded me of another time I was near Santa Cruz at a place called Anna Nueva where huge 2-3000 pound male seals hauled on shore to breed with 600 to 1000 pound female seals.  I was watching, engrossed, as two huge male seals snuck around some dunes to get at a large female sleeping in nearby sand.

I was so engrossed in the fight that was about to take place that I did not see another male with his eyes on the same loafing female. I know what was driving the male seal, however this seal was not watching or just did not care about my 30 pound, 2 year old daughter who was between him and the nearby loafing female. I did!!!!I stopped looking and ran (I have seen hese blubberful seals move really fast to get it on with female seals). I grabbed up my daughter and got out of the way of  the seal fight that was about to take place.  I did not want to see my daughter crushed by my not paying attention, or a huge rutting elephant seal.It was a close call to my brain but I was unwilling to take chances with my daughter. I had been around wildlife enough to know that “things” could happen fast.

I saw a number of Stellar Sea Lions loafing on sea rocks near Kodiak, Alaska and in Kenai Fiords National Park, Alaska. I would write more about these sea lions but I only saw them loaf or occasionally swim around a harbor.

 I was fishing with an eskimo near a town called Akhiok Kaguiak when we spotted a dead blue whale on shore. 38 brown bears were feeding on the whale so the eskimo told me he would come back for the whale’s baleen, which he used for artwork. He only hoped another Allutiiq would not beat him to the punch and get the  whale’s baleen or get mauled by a feeding brown bear.

Orcas would herd chum salmon into the bay at the mouth of the Canoona River in Northern British Columbia. There was a large, and I do mean large, white (non albino) “spirit bear”; An actual black bear. We called this particular bear the Canoona bear. When he  heard the orcas he would run to the river mouth to trap salmon as they escaped certain death from the orcas. 9 pound salmon had no idea that a bear (also certain death) was above the huge, predacious orcas, positioning himself in the middle of the river bed, hoping to trap a large salmon. The orca arrival was like a dinner bell to the large spirit bear of the rainforest (temperate) or as the nearby Tshim Tshan Indians called him, Mok s’ gmol.

These kinds of observations will become non- exsistant as our climate changes. These observations were already rare, only to soon disappear, as our climate warms up, even if we stop our global warming  by changing our behavior now, dead in its tracks……..

Matt

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