Posts Tagged ‘Wildlife’
December to March – they arrive, they mate, they have babies.
Elephant seals are big, brown, and blubbery. If you come to Ano Nuevo Beach – a small state park on the California coastline between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz – you will see hundreds of them. Blue sea, choppy waves, rocky waterfront, sandy coastline and what looks like large brown blubbery sacks littered all around. Males weigh 5000 lbs, females 4000 and newborns about 100. Maybe they are called elephant seals because they are elephantine versions of seals, or maybe it is because of the trunk the males have for a nose. Harems of alpha males number in hundreds. Sounds more exciting than seventy two virgins, eh?
I am talking of Alviso, the little town that can be approached at from Hwy 237, at the southernmost edge of the San Francisco Bay. It had a glorious past and was all set to become an town of utmost importance. But that didn’t happen – train tracks were built to bypass the town. The building of Bayside Cannery – one of the top 5 canneries in US in its heyday - is still standing with murals depicting Alviso’s past and present.
With views as glorious and a neighborhood as quiet, you would think that the real estate prices would be skyrocketing. But Alviso is sinking, little by little. So, it has become a forgotten neighborhood where Bay Area locals come to get a glimpse of the past and enjoy the marshes. Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge leads tours of the Alviso marshes to explain this area’s ecology. They also have events like “Beginning Birdwatching” or “Beginning Bird Photography”.
We had left for a Delhi-Jaipur road trip that morning. By the time we reached Sariska, it was already evening. I had spent my childhood in a town called Alwar, a small town then, not very far from Sariska. My memory of Aravali range were these undulating hills that sparkled in the noon sun due to the presence of trace amounts of mica. That evening, the Aravali hills surrounding Sariska had looked a dull greyish-brown in the setting sun.
Although the tigers at this tiger sanctuary are now all dead or departed, many wild animal species such as leopards, hyenas, jackals, spotted deer (cheetal), wild boars, sambars and four-horned deer are still there. A casual visitor these days is likely to see only monkeys. We didn’t encounter any that evening.