Australian Sea-lion – and a few birds
On our recent trip to Victor Harbor south of Adelaide I was able to do a little birding over the weekend. On the Saturday I went with two friends for a walk across the causeway to the nearby Granite Island. I only saw a few Silver Gulls and Pacific Gulls and Little Pied Cormorants. On the return walk I saw a Caspian Tern and several Crested Terns on the beach.
The walk to Granite Island is a very popular walk for locals and visitors alike. We were delighted to see a very relaxed Australian Sea-lion lolling around in the water near the jetty. The way it behaved it was almost as if it was showing off its swimming skills to all the humans watching only a few metres away. Perhaps someone had trained it to behave in this way.
Australian Sea-lions are relatively common along the southern and western coasts of Australia. It largely breeds on the many islands along these coasts and I know of only one mainland breeding colony near Streaky Bay in the far west of South Australia. This species rarely venture more than 20-30km from the coast while feeding. From the size and colour of this individual in was most probably a female. Females range from 1.3-1.8m in length; the males at 2-2.5m are considerably larger and paler around the head.
Reference: A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia (by Menkhorst and Knight).