There are chubby harbor seal pups everywhere now, 52 so far as a matter of fact. Sometimes the pups follow their moms out of the sea to rest & nurse, but at other times the mom has to quickly turn & pursue her pup back into the sea because the pup just wants to swim & play. Harbor seal moms tap their pup’s head with their flipper to tell the pup to settle down & nurse. Some of the pups, which have nursed for weeks now are little blimps. As the pups nurse, they close their eyes in bliss & then collapse into dreamy sleep like all babies do. The mothers smile & touch noses with their pups. It’s sweet to see the darling pups with their adoring moms. Yearling seals who were born last year now lay next to the infant pups. Another generation of seals has arrived. As the pups get closer to being weaned (after 12 weeks or so), they start to hang out together on the beach. There is a chorus of pups barking for their moms. A new “Pup Club” of almost weaned seals is forming, but right now each mother & pup savors their togetherness. Once the pups are weaned they will stop calling for their mother because it will be time for them to feed and take care of themselves. It will be time for the harbor seal mothers to begin mating to produce next year’s pups. For right now though, I listen to the pup’s chorus, watch them rocket through the sea with their moms, nurse with great zeal & fall into the deep innocent sleep as all babies do. I marvel at this new life, which has been received with great joy by all the mothers of this harbor seal colony. It is such a privilege for me to observe and share the continuity and rebirth of life here. I carry this beauty in my heart.
As if the two month old and weaned Harbor seal pups don’t have enough on their minds, they still have to watch out for the pesky sea gulls who still seem to like trying to nip a pup’s tail. First the nip, then the pup turns around and says “Cut it out!”. Then the pup turns and a face to face stand off takes place until the gull finally walks off to find something else to do. Check out the pups face because they are molting now and this is a great shot of a face half molted and half furry!
Harbor seal pupping season in La Jolla is winding down. The fat little pups are only a day or two away from being weaned. The pups already weaned are dropping a bit of their weight from nursing as they now have to find fish to eat all by themselves. They pitifully cry “mooooom” to no avail. Soon their cries will fade, their hope of suckling will be just a dream & the real beginning of surviving in the Harbor seal colony will begin.