January 2016, the Cupsogue harbor seal catalog
contains 136 seals that are identifiable based upon pelage
marking patterns. Several of these seals have
returned every year since 2006, other have returned
less frequently but still return to use that site.
The catalog is part of an on-going long term study
of site fidelity and population dynamics. Samples
photos from 136 identified and named seals can be
seen via the link above.
THE SEALS WERE
OCCASIONALLY ON ALERT AFTER HEARING GUN SHOTS
FROM DISTANT HUNTERS. AFTER SHOTS CEASE, THE
SEALS RELAX UNTIL THE NEXT ROUND OF SHOTS.
11:00 am WITH THE SCHOOL GROUP (OREGON
MIDDLE SCHOOL) AND ONLY 6 WERE STILL THERE- THE
MAJORITY HAD BEEN FLUSHED FROM THE SITE
INADVERTENTLY BY A SHORE-BASED FISHER. THE 6
REMAINING INDIVIDUALS WERE FLUSHED BY THE
PASSAGE OF A US COAST
GUARD VESSEL AT HIGH SPEED.
RESEARCH and SEAL WALK for
the Oregon Middle School
2 harbor seals swimming instead of being hauled
Too many boats and
too many people on
the shore near the haulout on a spring-like day in December
and the seals had been obviously spooked off
the haulout site. Let's hope that this isn't a
regular occurrence this year. Looking forward to
real winter-like weather soon.
The seals were originally split into two groups
seperated by 240 yards, a large group of nearly 31
and a second group of 15. The larger group
continued to increase in number and within 30
minutes grew to 55, while the second group remained
Within 45 minutes of our
arrival the seals from the secondary joined the others.
79 harbor seals
hauled-out at Cupsogue just at sunrise. 1.5 hours
later 84 were
hauled out until they were scared off the sandbar by
a vessel (NY 7372 JZ).
The vessel passed slowly south of the sandbar and
some of the seals were on alert, but most were
unaffected and remained on the haul-out site. The
vessel then stopped just east of the haulout and sat
for a mnute out of gear, then revved its engine
(still out of gear) and that caused the seals to
flush from the haulout. Within 40 seconds,
all 84 seals enterred the water. The vessel then
proceeded to follow the seals towards the inlet.
the incident will be reported to NOAA Fisheries
The beautiful silence of the morning was pierced
with frequent and disturbing sounds of shotgun fire.
They sounded very close and were extremely loud. The
seals reacted by changing to vigilant behavior and
periodically bouncing in place while the guns
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