Hookers & Dolphins

Pregnant Hookers Sealion

Samantha (what else could we call her) is looking significantly fuller in the belly than is normal for a female sealion. Her patchy coat is in the latter stages of her annual moult

Samantha (what else could we call her) is looking significantly fuller in the belly than is normal for a female sealion. Her patchy coat is in the latter stages of her annual moult

Young Hookers

A group of bachelor males. The older bull in the rear is close to breeding maturity, indicated by his growing mane. Very young males can be almost as blond as mature females.Pregnant Female

Yesterday on Ulva Island with guests we discovered a female Hookers Sealion sunning herself on Boulder Beach. There have been quite a few males around lately, but this is the first female we have seen in some considerable time. Females are much lighter coloured than males, although very young males can be mistaken for females. Although I’m not completely certain it looks very much as if she is pregnant. Hookers normally give birth in mid to late December, and so we will keep an eye out for her. Once she decides on her birthing area she probably won’t stray far from it, and when she’s really close we may see her lying on her back in the water rubbing her belly. … a good sign birth is imminent.

Bottlenosed Dolphins

As we returned to Golden Bay at the end of the afternoon we were treated to a display by a pod of bottlenosed dolphins. There were perhaps a dozen in the group, probably the same ones I had seen several time in the last few days. They seemed quite animated with what appeared to be aggression between some of the larger members. As we watched them I started to think we might have males competing for a receptive female.

Iris & our 4 guests left to go home, and I stayed, watching the pod perform and talking with a couple of engineers who were inspecting the local wharves. As we talked the pod came to within 40 metres of the wharf and we watched with some amazement as one of the pod… we presume a female ….rolled over onto her back on the surface and a male rolled onto her. We briefly saw his penis unsheathed, …. it’s normally fully retracted within the body….and then they went below the surface. That was the first time I had ever seen dolphins mating, and of course I had given Iris my camera to take home, although as the whole event had taken perhaps 2 seconds I doubt I would have been successful anyway.

So all in all a very interesting day, which we finished up by showing our guests a colony of Big Red Spider Orchids just out on the roadside

Red Spider Orchid,Nematoceras iridescens

Red Spider Orchid,Nematoceras iridescens

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Sails Ashore

…. Peter & Iris, Sails Ashore
11 View St,
Stewart Island,
tait@sailsashore.co.nz
www.sailsashore.co.nz

64 3 219 1151
0800 783 9278