Mystery Animal on the Beach!

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Fraxinus

Settler
Oct 26, 2008
935
31
Canterbury
Rob, it is not a turtle nesting site. While it is not unheard of to see Green sea turtles, it is very rare. Coincidentally, a Green sea turtle was spotted on another beach the day before.

- Woodsorrel

Well call me a pregnant goldfish! :lmao: I discounted my first idea as being too obvious, then read your blog and realised i should have gone with it :banghead: Been out kayaking around them but never got close enough on land to see any tracks.

Sunny%2520Fellow.jpg


Rob.
 
Rob, that is a terrific picture of a Harbor seal. You can even see the toes/claws on its front flippers!

My own pictures are from land, very far away. For some reason, I never think to take any from the kayak. You've inspired me to take more photographs from the water.

Thanks!

- Woodsorrel
 
Jul 30, 2012
3,571
224
westmidlands
yup, I think if it had been a green sea turtle you would have had a set of tracks outside the smooth run as they use there huge front flippers and the rear flippers that would be the tracks aft are pusking a 1 metre shell weighing 100kg, though the tracks are not deep enough, their flippers are there only means of clumsy locomotion on land. I suppose a different sort of turtle?!
1600px-Green_turtle_swimming_over_coral_reefs_in_Kona.jpg

I'd say horseshoe crab as they are about the right size for a big one,but it's bipedal tracks. penguin? although only the emperor would make those size, and they only come from Antarctica. elephant seal or something too here?
 
petrochemicals, these are all very good guesses. Your reasoning is sound about it not being a sea turtle.

Elephant Seals do live in the area. But they are the size of small minivans. This trail is too narrow for an Elephant Seal.

Penguins don't make it to California, and our horseshoe crabs are too small to leave such a large track.

This narrows the field considerably. As others deduced from the track shape and claw marks, it is indeed a Harbor seal.

- Woodsorrel
 
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Ah, petrochemicals, you are right! The last shot is my attempt at humor.

When the tracks were made, the beach was as smooth as it appears where the tracks are, and beyond. All the disturbance you see in the last photo is from the excited trackers walking and kneeling and measuring and milling around the tracks.

It struck me as funny that trackers leave a characteristic trail of their own. :)

- Woodsorrel
 
So why was there only one set of tracks in the sand? Was jesus carrying him?

Hi Ben/dave! I believe Zingmo was the first to figure it out. The Harbor seal came ashore at or before high tide. The outgoing tide erased the tracks it made coming out of the water.

To add a little bit of interpretation we did not go into in this thread:

I believe the crescent shaped depression was caused by the animal's body. I believe it came ashore with the high tide. As the water rushed out, it dug a trough on the "leading edge" of the seal's body. If you have ever laid down and let the waves rush over you, you know what I mean. As the water recedes, it digs a trough around the landward side of your body.

I also mentioned that the high tide was returning as we examined the apparently fresh tracks. This implies that the seal remained on the beach for many hours. The Raven tracks were from birds coming to investigate whether the seal was in distress. It had remained stationary for a long time.

That is my interpretation of what happened from the signs I saw. I am probably wrong. :) However, as we were leaving we found an eyewitness who saw the seal plunge into the waves shortly before we arrived (maybe 1-2 hours). This means that the seal was on the beach for many hours.

I hope this helps!

- Woodsorrel
 
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Jul 30, 2012
3,571
224
westmidlands
Ah, petrochemicals, you are right! The last shot is my attempt at humor.

When the tracks were made, the beach was as smooth as it appears where the tracks are, and beyond. All the disturbance you see in the last photo is from the excited trackers walking and kneeling and measuring and milling around the tracks.

It struck me as funny that trackers leave a characteristic trail of their own. :)

- Woodsorrel
you big old tease you.


I'm just glad I didn't say a wallrus walking backwards whilst dragging it's tusks in the sand.
 
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