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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Sweet Day With Stellers

Today on the Western Prince we headed north up towards East Point, where we have had so many amazing wildlife encounters lately. Today was no exception, as soon as we pulled into Boundary Pass we saw small groups of harbor porpoise all over the place. While watching them, a harbor seal also surfaced nearby with what looked like a rockfish in its mouth.

The water was flat so the visibility was great, and we could spot some Steller sea lions surfacing from quite a distance away. We headed over to investigate, and before long were surrounded by multiple groups lounging on the surface. The most exciting moment was when one surfaced directly in front of the boat, giving us a close up look at this ocean predator - and his big teeth! Here is my favorite photo from the day:

After spending some time with the Stellers in the water, we went over to East Point itself where fifteen or more sea lions were hauled out on the rocks. Much to my surprise, an adult bald eagle was also perched on the rocks, right among the sea lions:

A little further down on the rocks were harbor seals. Today there were more seals there than I usually see hauled out in one place - I estimated there were at least 150:

This time, only a few individual Bonaparte's gulls were seen - quite a contrast to the tens of thousands that were there just last week! It was actually pretty surprising how little bird life was there (glaucous-winged gulls and a few surf scoters) given all the active foraging going on by the seals, sea lions, and porpoises.

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