Sea Lion Pool Party Disturbed

[click for larger images]

These are some of the hundreds of sea lions gathered on Monterey Bay during an anchovy run, along with pelicans, cormorants, and other fish-feeding wildlife. Where they all congregate around the breakwater and beach, it becomes a raucous sea lion pool party.

Image 1 shows the sea lions at rest and play on the beach in their normal behavior, not paying too much attention to photographers or onlookers.

Image 2 shows the behavioral change after a photographer walked in front of us, way too close to the sea lions. He spooked them, and they scrambled as fast as they could toward the water. I shot Image 2 as they paused on the shoreline, gauging that photographer’s next move.

You can see in Photo #2, an example of the signs to look for and avoid when photographing wildlife. The sea lions, formerly at play and engagement are on the move, on alert. They’re looking at the photographer instead of interacting with each other. Ideally, wildlife is either oblivious to you and your camera, or aware but not on high alert, still engaging in normal feeding, social play, or rest.

If you see these types of changes in the animals due to your movement or activity, be sure to back away, and give them plenty of space. All wild animals and birds waste precious energy and resources having to flee humans and, also, humans’ off-leash dogs.

[Photographed from a distance with a telephoto lens.]

A few more photos from the same day:

California Sea Lions swimming in Monterey Bay
California Sea Lions swimming in Monterey Bay
California Sea Lions swimming in Monterey Bay
Sea Lions at Play in the Pacific
California Sea Lions at play in Moss Landing California
California Sea Lions swimming in Monterey Bay

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