Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: basking in the sun

with 28 comments

It wasn’t I who was basking in the sun on pastel-colored rocks at the Matakaea Reserve on February 27th but a bunch of New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri), including this one. To enlarge the seal, click its image below.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 27, 2017 at 5:00 AM

28 Responses

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  1. Lovely hot rock basker. I’d happily join him or her.

    Steve Gingold

    April 27, 2017 at 5:15 AM

  2. I am yearning for weather where I can do just that. Soon – very soon :).


    April 27, 2017 at 5:57 AM

    • I sympathize with you. We were headed to South Dakota but as we worked our way north from Austin the weather forecast for the Black Hills began to show not just overcast skies, not just morning temperatures as low as in the 20s F, not just a high likelihood of rain on certain days, but even 1–3 inches of snow. We spent two extra days in Kansas City waiting for a better forecast but we never got one. Here we are back in Austin, where it’s sunny this morning and the afternoon high temperature is predicted to be 85°F.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 27, 2017 at 7:27 AM

  3. Oh how adorable! So like a cat 😀

  4. What a contented looking fellow!

    Lavinia Ross

    April 28, 2017 at 3:26 PM

    • A few of the seals interacted with each other, but most seemed only too happy to lounge around the way this one was doing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 28, 2017 at 3:44 PM

  5. Lovely image Steve .. nothing like basking in the sun. Looks like he might be snoozing ..


    April 29, 2017 at 12:08 AM

    • I think you’re right. The seal squirmed around a bit, as if trying to find a good position, then apparently dozed off.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 29, 2017 at 7:10 AM

  6. I love how thoroughly the seal is enjoying the warmth of the sun on the rocks! And doesn’t he make a nice composition, his organic form against the angular red rock.


    April 29, 2017 at 8:09 AM

    • It sounds like you envy the seal and would be tempted to lie down there yourself.

      Leave it to the artist in you to notice the contrast between biological and rocky forms.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 29, 2017 at 8:46 AM

  7. It occurred to me that he’d have to feel especially secure to go belly-up like that on the rocks. Then I realized you were at a reserve, where the comfort and security of the animals surely is a prime consideration. I’m sure he’s learned that. He clearly appreciates it.

    I noticed that another name for the place is Shag Point. Is this where you took the photos of the birds on their pier? What a contrast those birds make with this seal.


    April 29, 2017 at 8:59 AM

    • This seal picture came first, during the afternoon on the way to Oamaru, about an hour’s drive north, where we saw the shags at dusk. (In between came the time at the Moeraki Boulders.) I didn’t see any shags at Shag Point but found plenty of seals, gulls, and giant kelp.

      The reserve has signs saying to leave the animals alone, but I don’t know to what extent people pay attention to those signs. For example, on both trips I observed people letting their dogs run loose in places where signs said that dogs had to be under control. I remember at Little Manly Beach on the first trip seeing off-leash dogs chasing sea birds.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 29, 2017 at 9:39 AM

  8. Luxurious luxuriating. The seal looks as though it is oozing oil; it’s so shiny.


    May 1, 2017 at 5:46 AM

    • I noticed that sheen too. This was the closest I got to one of the seals, so I don’t know whether any of the others had pelts that were equally shiny.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 1, 2017 at 7:32 AM

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