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5/28/19 to 6/5/19 Oceanside RV Resort, Coos Bay OR (Part 2, Cape Arago Sea Lions)

This is a continuation of my post for Cape Arago.

Simpson Reef Wildlife Viewpoint is a short drive South of Shore Acres. A park brochure identifies the types of sea lions and seals you are likely to see on specific locations of the 20 odd islands and rocks making up the reef. For example, Sea Lions may be seen on Shell Island (the largest), and a a few outer sections of the reef. Elephant seals are usually confined to Shell Island and harbor seals will be seen at most of the smaller and closer to shore rocks.

Shell Island.

During one trip here we saw a golden eagle and on another day saw a bald eagle in the same area.

Cape Arago.

The first day at Cape Arago I got what I think are the best sea lion or seal shots of our trip. A Steller Sea Lion was grunting and pushing his way through the sea lions who woke up and barked loudly in complaint.

Especially when the big boy waddled over one of the sea lions.

In these photos you can see the difference between California Sea Lions and the Steller Sea Lions who are much bigger (the largest sea lion) and are usually identified by their much thicker neck.

Is he sticking his tongue out at me?

The Steller sea lion is quit a bit bigger than the California sea lions around him.

Looks like a chorus - and it was - of barking. As soon as one started, they all joined in.

Coming through

The Steller sea lion has more of a grunt than a bark. He lets his presence known nonetheless.

Sharing a good laugh.

This photo shows the articulating rear fins of the sea lion which they can use to move about. Seals rear fins aren't much help on land.

LOVE this guy's face. Peaceful.

Despite causing everyone unrest, the Steller sea lion rubs his nose on a California sea lion's backside.

The California Sea Lion is identified by a bump on their heads that grow larger and lighter in color as they age. It looks like a bald spot. Sea Lions can be differentiated from seals by their ears and articulating rear legs. Seals are smaller, have holes for hearing, and their rear legs point straight back. Seals hobble on their bellies, while Sea Lions have more or a walk.

Note the prominent bump on the heads on the California sea lions.

I loved the action of the seals and the photo ops so much that I went back for a second visit. Unfortunately, there were fewer seals and the big Steller Sea Lion was missing. Plus, the day was so windy I couldn't hold the tripod steady at the exposed end of the point. I had to step back about 30 feet where some trees blocked the wind enough for me to shoot. On the positive side, I watched a couple great blue herons and, just before I left, a number of seagulls started swirling over the point.

Finally they all came to rest.

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