The unexpected visitors

Living by the coast has it’s drawbacks sometimes – the seasonal wind and sea fret can impact the hardiest of coastal dwellers.  Just when we thought spring had settled a couple of low frontal weather systems had us scurrying to get out the winter layers again.  On the Atlantic side the seas were huge, and one of the unexpected visitors to our rocky beach was an exhausted young Cape fur seal. It hauled out of the water and spent the day on the rocks recuperating.  Seal pups are only weaned when they are about nine months old.  Baleful eyes warily watched as I attempted to remain discreetly hidden.

Rough seas at Scarborough
A young Cape fur seal.

Generally the dassie (Rock hyrax) colony commands rights over the rocks and sandbathing facilities, little seal was the first intruder and then up popped a Cape clawless otter.

The otter stayed for a nap, sandbath and returned to eat lunch after hunting down a pyjama shark.

It was all action for this photographer, as the next to appear (out at sea) were Southern right whales.  Their sheer size and tonnage have us entranced and the trick is to figure what is happening out there by trying to piece together the body parts which randomly appear – a ventral fin, the size of the flukes –  is it adult or newly born?  Or perhaps the cavorting of mating rituals?

The Southern right whales come to calve and mate  in the bay from June to November.

Further along the road at the penguin colony the chicks are looking quite bedraggled in various stages of growth:

African penguin chicks losing their fine fluff and showing their “blue” coats.


A juvenile African penguin accompanied by an adult.

Looking sleek and probably almost ready to fledge and make off on it’s own, this juvenile’s plumage will soon change to adult colouration.

False Bay is sometimes referred to as the “Serengeti of the seas” for it’s rich marine life and influx of seasonal species. Though there is the fear that many species are decreasing in numbers and little is being done to protect the resources.

26 thoughts on “The unexpected visitors

    1. Yes, the right whales – the southern’s population numbers are apparently increasing – never quite sure how accurate the census count can be. So totally wish there was a total fishing ban on all species of whales.

    1. Perfect metaphor – a splendid field day. And I was lucky to get the shots. The dassies (the rock hyraxes) lord it over the rocks and keep a vigilant look-out for intruders, true blabber-mouths one warning bark and my cover is usually blown. The seal slipped away sometime between dusk and dawn, hoping it was old enough to fend for itself.

  1. Goodness, you do live in a wonderful nature ‘reserve’. I wonder how many creatures passed me by when I lived there, but was too absorbed by my family to notice anything else.

    1. Family life is very distracting :). When did you leave Jude, not sure whether the Penguins had arrived at Boulders? And it’s amazing how stealthily wild animals can live right alongside the edge without being noticed.

      1. We left before the penguins arrived. Boulders was just a very popular beach where it was difficult to park! (Reminds me of St Ives!!) We moved up to Joburg in 1983.

  2. Wowsa! To think some days go by with seeing ‘nothing’, then other days are action-filled like this. To me those days always feel like the ultimate reward for persistence.

  3. Liz, you had to be dizzy with excitment over all these incredible gifts of Nature. When unusual circumstances like this happen to me… I have to literally coach myself to remain calm. The adrenalyn rush can really mess up my ability to focus the camera 😉

  4. I see more birds than mammals, so while viewing your stunning images, I’m wistful for similar encounters…. but still – what a gift it is to be able to spend large chunks of time while immersed in the natural world. It would be hard to pick a favorite of these, but the otter is really nice… as is the seal.. and then there are the penguins….

    Thank you for sharing your world with us!

  5. Stunning images of your coastline and a dazzling array of wildlife, Liz. Thank you for the armshair safari! It is heartbreaking that the presence of such wonderful animals is not universally respected and the fact that they are not automatically given the protection they deserve beggars belief.

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