The Davis Wallow

Today’s post is about the small ‘beach’ area of Davis that serves as an all-summer wallow for a number of elephant seals.  They begin to arrive around November or December, and around this time of year the number of seals roughly doubles.  This is thanks to the temporary residents of what we call the ‘Old Wallow’ move up to the Davis beachfront.

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This is the main group, though there are other individuals spread around the beach for whatever reasons.  They’re a noisy lot, especially when they’re fighting.  Their vocalisations are a deep, grunting, farting kind of noise that is quite distinctive.  It can be heard through quadruple glazed windows sometimes.

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Their behaviour is unfathomable at times, but I’m convinced that most of their fighting is just them being grumpy about gaining or losing a prime spot in the throng.  The practice fights are a bit more serious, but the brief skirmishes like this never seem to amount to much more than a quick return to ambivalence.

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And these guys sure are good at ambivalence.  Once in a while they’ll move around a little, go for a swim or have a fight.  Mostly, however, this is all we get.  They’re here to moult and rest and not a lot else.  They can be heard (and smelled, if we get a persistent onshore wind) across the station, and it’s a constant reminder that we’re somewhere really unique and special.

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