April 2016, the Cupsogue harbor seal catalog
contains 158 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 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
We saw about 50 hauled-out as we walked down the
road towards the viewing area. Once at the viewing
area, as the CRESLI Crew walked to the snow fence to
set up our equipment, while the rest of the people
waited alohng the edge og the road, we saw that the
seals had been flushed from the sand bar.
Everyone was asked to approach the snow fence in
small groups and wait patiently.
Our patience was rewarded with a sight that very few
people get to witness. We were able to watch
the haul-out process. From no seals-hauled to
to 94 seals hauled outover the course of 30
96 harbor seals seen and photographed about
at 11:25 AM.
Within 2 hours, unfortunately,
the seals had been flushed from the sandbar and only
30 remained swimming in the area. eye-witnesses
reported that many people were at the shore
across from the haulout and half of the seals
bolted. The other half were flushed by the close
approach of a fast moving Suffolk County Police vessel. Come
on folks, let's give the seals a break.
don't go down to the water's edge.
Stay behind the snow
About 30 harbor seals seen hauled out as we
a private helicopter flew over the hauled out seals
as we were approaching and scattered them.
This helicopter has done so before, each time
leaving just as we approached close enough to try
and photograph or video the encounter. Over
the past years, helicopters and airplanes have
repeatedly harassed the seals and have been reported
to NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Agents.
Unfortunately, it hasn't stopped.
If you are there and see anything like this
occuring, try to video and/or photograph the
encounter and get the aircraft's ID numbers and
contact NYS DEC POLICE, OR NOAA FISHERIES , OR Dr.
and he will give you the contact informatioN FOR
Within a few minutes of
arrival, we saw them chased off the sandbar by the close approach of a vesel. Over the next 45 minutes, vessels repeatedly
cuased the seals to leave the sandbar.
Boaters, please leave the seals alone!
Since 2009 we have had 86% success rate in finding cetcaceans
since 7/29/12 through 9/6/15 we found
cetaceans on 39 out of 40 trips (97.5% success).
Join the crew with over 30
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As in every year since 2009, our 2015 season
was spectacular. Our local trips
brought us in contact wth fin whales, and short-beaked
common dolphins so far..
Join CRESLI on our yearly trip to the
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We have now had
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