Guadalupe Fur Seals Reported from Monterey

A report from Alvaro Jaramillo says that an all-day birding trip out of Monterey had up to 70 Guadalupe Fur Seals — based on photos, he thinks that they had many more of those than they did of the expected Northern Fur Seal.

I was on an all-day boat out of Ventura a week ago and we had a probable Guadalupe Fur Seal but it was a birding trip and the boat did not stop. I did not get a photo to be sure one way or the other.

A few days before Alvaro’s trip I was on a regular whale-watching trip out Monterey and we had two fur seals, called by the naturalist as northerns but I was not sure myself. The week before that, we had no fur seals on a regular, non-birding whalewatch trip. Make of this what you will.

Humpbacks are as common as ever in Monterey, and few fin whales are around, but hardly any blue whales. Dolphins seem hit or miss (more so than typical?).

For spouses, children, or non-wildlife-watchers, in Monterey the usual California Sea Lion colony on the Coast Guard breakwall has now relocated to the inner cove at Fisherman’s Wharf. They are so close you can pet them, not that you should risk getting bitten (or fined).

The usual Harbor Seals, Sea Otters, and California Ground Squirrels are along the shore from Cannery Row to Pt. Pinos, same as always. Black-tailed Mule Deer common at the Pacific Grove cemetery, the golf course, and the neighborhoods between Pt. Pinos and Asilomar Conference Grounds.

Right now there is a classic car week going on, so hotels are full and expensive, and streets are even more congested than usual.

Charles Hood, California

Post author



  • AlvaroJaramillo

    It was pretty amazing. They were associated with slightly warmer water, green water, not the colder brown water inside of the Bay. Bird associates included Sabine’s Gulls, if you are in the Bay with lots of Common Murres, that is not the water the Guadalupes are in. But if you are in warmer water, out of the Bay, Sabine’s or maybe Buller’s Shearwaters are around. That is where you want to be. NOTE that I am getting much more comfortable on one ID mark, but I don’t know if it fails for any age class/sex, and that is whisker color. The whiskers are noticeably whitish on Northerns, but brown or tan on Guadalupe. Head shape, hair extent on foreflippers, length of hing flippers etc are other features of course.

  • AlvaroJaramillo

    BTW we have a boat heading out on Saturday and we will try to get to the same water type.

  • charleswhood

    Whisker color — I am loving that. My wife suspects I am whacko with this animal stuff already, so I can’t wait for her to hear me say, “Turn the boat around! I didn’t get a good shot of the whisker color!” (For anybody who has not gone out with Alvaro, both Jose Gabriel Martinez Fonseca and I recommend his trips highly.) / ch

  • charleswhood

    As of 26 Aug 2023, post-Hurricane Hilary, an 11-hour pelagic trip out of San Diego reports “several” Guadalupe Fur Seals. / ch

  • charleswhood

    As of 30 August, Alvaro’s trips continue to report Guadalupe Fur Seals associated with offshore warm water.

Leave a Reply