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Chlidonias

Southern Elephant Seal (Mirounga leonina)

Subadult male, Kaikoura, 3 June 2015 Elephant Seals are a fairly regular vagrant to NZ coasts from the subantarctic, but they always seem to appear where-ever I am not! This time I got lucky and this young male arrived on the Kaikoura coast, a couple of hours north of my location. He was first seen on Friday, and today (Wednesday) I managed to get up there to try and find him. Brilliant animal! So much more amazing in person than I would have imagined.

Southern Elephant Seal (Mirounga leonina)
Chlidonias, 3 Jun 2015
iluvwhales likes this.
    • Chlidonias
      Subadult male, Kaikoura, 3 June 2015

      Elephant Seals are a fairly regular vagrant to NZ coasts from the subantarctic, but they always seem to appear where-ever I am not! This time I got lucky and this young male arrived on the Kaikoura coast, a couple of hours north of my location. He was first seen on Friday, and today (Wednesday) I managed to get up there to try and find him.

      Brilliant animal! So much more amazing in person than I would have imagined.
    • devilfish
      Brilliant shots!
      How difficult was it to find him? The beach looks otherwise deserted; was it just the two of you or is there a crowd of excited just outside the frame?
    • Pertinax
      This takes me back...I saw a big bull Hooker's sealion like this on a NZ beach. It was covered in flies so I thought it was dead and so I approached closer. In fact it was just sleeping and it suddenly reared up and chased me away.:eek:

      I also saw a young male Elephant seal like this soon after we arrived in NZ- but it was on a distant beach across a sea inlet and quite a crowd had gathered to look at it. As it was a thirty mile or so round trip inland to get to where it was, we thought, oh well, we'll probably see another sometime. Of course we never did.:rolleyes:
    • Chlidonias
      if the left side of the photo was a few millimetres further over you'd be able to see the road!

      In this article there are a couple of photos, the first making him look smaller than he really was and the second making him look much larger, but they show where he decided to haul up in relation to the main highway. (In New Zealand a "main highway" is generally what any other country would call a country lane :p).
      Young, injured male elephant seal visits Kaikoura | Stuff.co.nz

      Anyway, when he was first reported he was drawing quite a few people and a safety fence was put up to make sure nobody got too close, but by the time we got up there a few days later he had left Goose Bay and apparently (so we were told) disappeared. We just spotted him fortuitously a few minutes drive further south - strangely enough we would have driven straight past him heading north! I think where he was, behind a mass of tall dry grass, meant he was only obvious from certain angles from the road. We very quickly went from dejected at having missed him, to elated to come across him so unexpectedly!!

      There was nobody else there to start with, but within a few minutes an ambulance pulled up and the officers came to have a look, then another couple of cars stopped. Basically, us standing there with our cameras acted as the signal for where the seal was. Nobody stayed more than a couple of minutes though.
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  • Category:
    New Zealand - Wildlife
    Uploaded By:
    Chlidonias
    Date:
    3 Jun 2015
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    Comment Count:
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