Circle of Life

It’s seal pupping season on the north coast so I thought I’d head down to Tide Pool Beach here on Sea Ranch.  There’s a nice spot on the bluff from which to photograph moms and pups without disturbing them too much.  Unfortunately when I got there I saw a pup that had recently expired lying on the beach.  California has recently experienced a rash of dead or abandoned seal pups due to inadequate food resources available for moms to feed/nurse their pups.   I have no idea about the cause of that little guy’s demise, but I could also see that he was about to become a part of Mother Nature’s great circle of life.

There were two turkey vultures there with only one thing on their mind.  Unfortunately for the vultures there also was a pair of rather feisty ravens who had other ideas about their own place in Mother Nature’s circle of life.

Raven and Vulture take a spin

Shall we dance?

One Tenacious Raven

As you can see from the images above, there is a considerable size difference between these birds.  Nevertheless, one of the ravens took charge of the operation by grabbing a firm hold on one of the Vulture’s main wing feathers and had no intention of letting go.  The vulture got highly annoyed at this kind of treatment from such a smaller rival.  The vulture began spinning around as to try to grasp the raven with its large bill, but all he managed to do was to give the raven quite a ride.  You can see from the images that the raven is completely off the ground yet still holding on firmly to the vulture.  The raven took several more spins on the end of the vulture’s wing until the vulture finally gave up.   After the ravens had their fill they left the vulture to lick his wounds (and his pride) and to clean up what was left.

Mother seal and her pup

I thought I would complete the circle of life theme with one final image, a mother and her pup bonding for life at the ocean’s edge.  Life does go on; survival of the fittest…and apparently the most tenacious.


Equipment:  Nikon D3s; Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 lens; monopod.

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