The Piedras Blancas Rookery

by cheri block

I made my pilgrimage to the elephant seal rookery at Piedras Blancas on the central coast of beautiful California.

The air nipped the nose. The ocean spray stirred the senses. The animals on the beach thrilled me.

Happy New Year to all!


Silver Bullets on the beach at Piedras Blancas

Nothing like watching elephant seals birthing and cuddling and barking and arching to make you feel alive.

So here’s a little medley of photos to usher in 2011.


Labor has begun with midwife supervising.
Nature’s labor room
The baby will be worth it in the end.
The reward for labor
Meanwhile, on the other side of the beach, twins have been born.

And who made all of this possible?

Well, he is mighty proud of his progeny.

Old William the Conqueror

Old Wllliam the Conqueror

All in a day’s work. Where’s my manicurist?

That’s it from the rookery!

About Cheri

Writer, photograph, artist, mother, grandmother and wife.
This entry was posted in Life, My photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to The Piedras Blancas Rookery

  1. Cheri,

    I must do a post on marital therapy using your wonderful first picture. I think I will call it, “The couple whose heads connect know the secrets of love.”

    Happy New Year from your partner in creative expression, peace and love,

  2. Great pictures–I can’t imagine the sounds!

    Happy New Year Cheri!

  3. Cheri says:

    You too, world traveler! What timing you have…
    It is exactly 12:03 in the US!!
    Welcome home.

  4. Richard says:

    A really delightful set of pictures and captions, Cheri.

    A New Year. New birth!

    And a Happy New Year to everyone.

  5. jenny says:

    Beautiful pictures. Happy New Year, Cheri.

    • Cheri says:

      Right back at you, Jenny. We all have a post that attracts people for the wrong reason. I learned about the (in)significance of the title with mine called Tattoo, Cleavage, Pierce, and Thong. Whew…

  6. Happy New Year. Do I understand that you are about to become a grandmother?

  7. sledpress says:

    I see Dad is as deeply involved as is typical. 🙂

    The flipper shot is fabulous; I was never clearly aware that seals had nails. Or claws. Whatever one must call them.

    Now I will be humming “The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry” all day.

    • Cheri says:

      Oh yes…very involved. When I delivered my daughter, Judge Blah tried to be there but almost passed out.

      When I delivered my son, he and the doctor were discussing the results of the Monday Night Football game.

      To be fair (important for a judge’s wife), he was completely involved in their rearing from diaper changing to getting up in the middle of the night.

      Regarding William’s nails…yes, they have nails on their flippers. I will go back to the rookery next month when everyone is there with a baby. Wow. It’s so amazing. All I need is a different camera and a different lens…

      Happy New Year, Sled.

  8. ashabot says:

    That’s so cool! Thanks posting it. Wonderful. Happy new year to all.

  9. Cyberquill says:

    I’m thinkin’ elephant seal veal. Looks like you can’t use ’em for fur.

  10. Chourou says:

    Happy new year, Chreri!
    I wish you the best of luck for 2011!

  11. Artswebshow says:

    I bet it was a stress filled beach that day. lol
    Very good pictures, cristal clear

  12. Wonderful photos and captions. Happy New Year, Cheri, to you and yours!

    • Cheri says:

      Across the miles to you, Narelle. You’ve made it past a difficult time of year after you’ve lost a parent.
      Welcome back to the blogosphere…

      • Thanks for getting that, Cheri. It’s been extraordinarily difficult. Plus Mum fell and broke her right arm just before Christmas, and she’s been incapacitated and frightened and panicked about her vulnerability. Am so glad Christmas is over.

  13. Brighid says:

    Happy New Year to all of us. Thanks for your patience with a granny trying to expand her world. Getting there one day at a time. Keeping the faith.

    • Cheri says:

      One day at a time is the speed all of us should be moving. Yes. Keep the faith, keep reading books, keep writing, and keep washing rice!
      Happy New Year to Brighid and Gus from the judge, Cheri, and Dinah (OK…and Bobb, our cat)

  14. ana terán says:

    Simply beautiful!!!!!!
    Happy 2011 to you too. May the coming 12 months bring under its arm everything you wish for.

    • Cheri says:

      y a usted, mi amiga

      (wish I had a soft Spanish wish in mi vocabulario, pero mi vocabulario is muy pequeno…pobrecito)

      And to you, Ana, la misma (correct?)

      • ana terán says:

        Nope. Sorry: “lo mismo…”
        A good wish could be (as an example): Que pases un lindo año…
        Mais je te remercie de tout mon coeur… Bisou.

  15. dafna says:

    back in a house with a computer!

    happy new year cheri, “so say we all”.

    you have a great eye for photography. the pictures are full of such interesting personalities 🙂

    how wonderful it must be to see this rookery. thanks for sharing.

  16. Cheri says:

    Happy New Year to you and your son and parents.

    The elephant seals make it very easy to have a good eye. Maybe in February, when I go back (and the mating and birthing are in full swing), I can add sound…

    It is always very special to be in a place where Nature is going great guns.

  17. wkkortas says:

    Male elephant seals are 50s dads? I’m going out. Call the bar when the kid’s born.

    May 2011 be all you want it to be, dearest Cheri.

  18. Cheri says:

    Yes, wk, you are oh so right about that one. But 50’s dads weren’t polygamists, right?
    These guys have it all: lounging in the sun, swimming in the Pacific (when they feel like it), breeding with, oh I don’t know, maybe 50 girls next month, and maintaining a hand’s off policy with the loud youngsters.

    I forgot to add that they are never cold with a 2 ton body, full of fat.

    Their biggest concern is the younger male, waiting in the wings, for their (ahem) job.

    Thank you for the kindest wishes, ever!

  19. Cheri says:

    Gracias por la informacion, en Espanol and Francais…

  20. bill ogard says:

    Great shots, Cheri. Paulette and I experienced the same wonder and amazement on our trip up the coast to Santa Cruz exactly one year ago, where we experienced the roosting monarchs in a park very near the Lighthouse/Steamers Lane. Ah, the wonders of nature!! Happy New Year to you and Judge Blah!! And how ’bout those Cardinal!! Go Stanford!!

  21. Cheri says:

    Welcome to the blog, bill!

    I can imagine how wonderful your shots of the monarchs were. I’ve never seen them at Steamer’s Lane. Shame on me. I must make that trek.

    Happy New Year to you and Paulette from Judge Blah, Cheri, and Dinah (whom Judge Blah can’t stand…)

    And yes, whadya think of our Cardinal? Wow.

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