Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island
Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island
Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island
Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island
Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island
Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island

CRESLI 2020-2021 Seal Walks and Research at Cupsogue Beach

By: A. H. Kopelman, PhD


CRESLI 2020-2021 Seal Walks and Research at Cupsogue Beach

CRESLI 2021 Seal Walk Season 

26,794 seal encounters at Cupsogue since 2006.

Join us to observe, photograph, and learn about Long Island's seals.  

The walks suitable for children and are approximately 1.2 miles round trip and take about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Please be prepared for the weather, i.e., wear warm clothing in layers. Hats, gloves, warm waterproof shoes are recommended, as are cameras and binoculars. Check the weather for Westhampton Beach and assume that the winds will produce wind chill. It’s better to be a more-on, than a less-on, i.e., having more layers than you need is the right thing. 


We have received approval from Suffolk County Parks for 26 seal walks at Cupsogue Beach Park for the 2020-2021 season (mid-November 2020 through early May 2021). 

Please be advised that our New York State Department of Health (DOH) Covid-19 Safety Plan was submitted and approved by Suffolk County Parks and will be in place for all seal walks.

  • Appropriate facial coverings must be warn properly at all times during our walks. Individuals are required to wear facial coverings even when 6' apart.

  • Each walk will be capped at a maximum of 40 participants.

  • All equipment will be sanitized before and after each walk.

  • Telescopes will be replaced with high resolution digital cameras with viewing screen which the public will not be allowed to touch.

  • Registration is required  

    • Online donations will be accepted prior to each trip or credit card donations will be accepted at the site via a swipe-based non-contact system, or you can pay by check.

    • To limit contact, cash will no longer be accepted. 

  • Please DO NOT PARTICIPATE IF YOU ARE SICK OR HAVE ANY COVID-19 SYMPTOMS. If you have been in contact with someone who is sick, please wait the 14 day period at home before coming into contact with others. Please Stay Home!
     


Our 2020/2021 Cupsogue Beach Public Seal walk dates and times are listed below.  Contact Dr. Artie Kopelman to arrange additional dates and times during the week for school groups, homeschoolers, and other groups


2020-2021 CRESLI Seal walk schedule, monitoring sessions, & status reports

All photos taken with 600mm lens from safe distances and do not disturb the seals


Date Type of trip STATUS
Sunday November 08, 2020 SEAL MONITORING SESSION

8 Harbor seals hauled-out and 2 swimming

PHOTOS

Monday November 09, 2020 SEAL MONITORING SESSION

2 harbor seals swimming

PHOTOS

Sunday November 15, 2020 SEAL WALK

3 Atlantic harbor seals on the far northeast end of the seal haulout sandbar in Moriches Bay (secondary haul-out site) and a lob-tailing humpback approximately 500 yards from shore on the ocean side at Cupsogue Beach during the

 

PHOTOS of seals and humpback

Sunday November 22, 2020 SEAL WALK 

Quick view of a large diving seal.  Could not ascertain species.

No photos

Friday November 27, 2020 SEAL MONITORING SESSION

36 harbor seals hauled-out on primary area, flushed into the water for unknown reason, the swam to secondary haul-out area far to the northeast

PHOTOS AND VIDEO 

Saturday November 28, 2020 SEAL WALK

Several harbor seals seen during an early monitoring session. ~20 harbor seals hauled-out on secondary haul-out area far to the northeast.

PHOTOS and VIDEO

Sunday, November 29, 2020 SEAL WALK

35 harbor seals hauled-out on primary area

PHOTOS and VIDEO

Thursday December 10, 2020 SEAL MONITORING SESSION

83 harbor seals hauled-out on primary area

PHOTOS and VIDEO

Sunday December 13, 2020 SEAL WALK

Several swimming harbor seals seen during an early monitoring session. ~30 harbor seals hauled-out on secondary haul-out area far to the northeast.

PHOTOS

Wednesday December 23, 2020 SEAL MONITORING SESSION

83 harbor seals hauled-out on primary area

VIDEO

PHOTOS

Saturday December 26, 2020 SEAL WALK

Several swimming harbor seals seen during an early monitoring session and during the seal walk

PHOTOS

Sunday December 27, 2020 SEAL WALK

Several swimming harbor seals seen during an early monitoring session. ~45 harbor seals hauled-out on secondary haul-out area far to the northeast.

PHOTOS

Friday January 1, 2021 SEAL MONITORING SESSION

~37 harbor seals (~25 hauled-out on secondary area, 2 on rocks, ~10 swimming)

PHOTOS

Saturday January 2, 2021 NYS DEC 1ST DAY HIKE

5 harbor seals swimming

PHOTOS

Wednesday January 6, 2021 SEAL MONITORING SESSION

171 seals (170 harbor seals and 1 gray seal) hauled out on the primary area 

PHOTOS

VIDEO

Saturday January 9, 2021 SEAL WALK

50 harbor seals hauled-out on primary area, 4 on rocks

PHOTOS

Sunday January 10, 2021 SEAL WALK

43 Atlantic harbor seals hauled-out on primary area. We watched as the approach of a duck hunting boat triggered all seals to enter the water.  Several hauled out again about 10 minutes later and the same vessel caused them to scatter.  The seals willrespond to the sounds of vessels that have disturbed them in the past.  Unfortunately, this particular vessel has flushed seals from the sandbar on multiple occasions. We can't wait for duck season to end. While the seals don;t necessarily respond to the sounds of gunshot, they do remember the sounds of vessels and react accordingly.

PHOTOS

Tuesday January 12, 2021 SEAL MONITORING SESSION

~10 harbor seals swimming

PHOTOS

Thursday January 14, 2021 SEAL MONITORING SESSION

22 Atlantic harbor seals, some new and others not seen in quite a while at Cupsogue Beach. Disturbances caused seals to only haulout on the far NE area of the sandbar. Swimming seals were near shore. 17 seals hauled out and 5 swimming.

PHOTOS

Thursday January 21, 2021 SEAL MONITORING SESSION

~7 harbor seals swimming. Once again, the expected haulout wasn't there. We assume that significant disturbance must have happened prior to our presence. By this date last year we had almost 1200 seal encounters in 14 trips.  So far for this season, we've only had 802 seal encounters in 22 trips. We surely hope that the some of the disturbances will end with the end of duck hunting season. We implore all to be vigilant about NOT DISTURBING RESTING SEALS. Give seals their distance! If they react to you in any way it's time for you to STOP what you're doing, DROP down to be less visible, and LEAVE 

PHOTOS

Saturday January 23, 2021 MONITORING SESSION and SEAL WALK

The recent trend of limited haulout numbers continues with just 6 seen prior to our seal walk. None were present during the seal walk.

PHOTOS

Sunday January24, 2021 MONITORING SESSION and SEAL WALK

6 harbor seals ( 2 on rocks and 4 swimming) seen prior to our seal walk. 6 harbor seals were seen swimming suring our walk.  On our way back, some of us were treated to views of a resting snowy owl

PHOTOS

Tuesday January26, 2021 MONITORING SESSION

20 harbor seals ( 6 on rocks and 14 swimming)

PHOTOS

Thursday February 4, 2021 MONITORING SESSION

186 harbor seals hauled out on the primary area 

PHOTOS

VIDEO

Saturday February 6, 2021 MONITORING SESSION and SEAL WALK

176 harbor seals hauled out on the primary area 

PHOTOS

Wednesday February 10, 2021 MONITORING SESSION 

68 harbor seals. 9 hauled out on rocks, 15 swimming, 44 hauled out on secondary area at the eastern end of the sandbar

PHOTOS

Wednesday February 17, 2021 MONITORING SESSION 

78 harbor seals hauled out on the primary area of the sandbar

PHOTOS

Saturday February 20, 2021 SEAL WALK 

43 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out on sandbar in area used through 2006

PHOTOS

Sunday February 21, 2021 SEAL WALK 

65 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out on sandbar in area used through 2006

PHOTOS

Wednesday February 24, 2021 SEAL WALK for Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library

195 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out on sandbar in area used through 2006

PHOTOS

     
     


 


Saturday, March 6, 2021 6:00 AM WAIT-LISTED
Sunday, March 7, 2021 7:00 AM WAIT-LISTED
Saturday, March 20, 2021 6:00 AM WAIT-LISTED
Sunday, March 21, 2021 6:45 AM WAIT-LISTED
Saturday, April 3, 2021 6:00 AM WAIT-LISTED
Sunday, April 4, 2021 6:45 AM WAIT-LISTED
Sunday, April 18, 2021 6:00 AM WAIT-LISTED
Saturday, April 24, 2021 10:45 AM NO LONGER TAKING WAITLIST REQUESTS
Sunday, May 2, 2021 6:00 AM WAIT-LISTED
     


 

 

REGISTER FOR THE SEAL WALKS BELOW


 


Submitting your reservation will not take you directly to a system for paying your deposit. 


Best Photos of the 2019-2020 Seal Season


Statistics for the 2019-2020 seal season at Cupsogue

  • 3771 seal encounters (3750 harbor seal and 21 gray seal) this season during 43 CRESLI seal walks and monitoring sessions. Harp seals and gray seal pup have been seen on the ocean side beach as well.  A truncated season, but one of our most successful.

    • 87.70 ± 8.77 (s.e.) seals per sighting overall (n=43)
    • 102.22 ± 8.53 (s.e.) seals per undisturbed (i.e., hauled-out; n=37)


From our colleagues at NOAA Fisheries New England/Mid-Atlantic: 

If you see seals on the beach, use the Rule of Thumb while watching seals to make sure you are giving them enough space.
1) Close one eye.
2) Make a thumbs up and hold your thumb so it's in line with your vision and the seal.
3) If you can see the seal from behind your thumb, you are too close so back up!

https://www.facebook.com/NOAAFisheriesNEMA/photos/a.1841106822794035/2588783844692992/

Don't forget to contact your local stranding network 631-369-9829, or our regional hotline 866-755-6622, if you think the seal needs help!


2019-2020 SEAL SIGHTINGS AT CUPSOGUE with photo links

Date

 Status

Type of trip

Saturday, November 23, 2019

5 Harbor seals swimming

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

Saturday, December 7,  2019

90 harbor seals hauled-out on main sandbar, including some old-timers back for their 16th year

PHOTOS

SEAL WALK

Sunday, December 8, 2019

70 seals seen at 8:30 AM were spooked off the haulout by a slow moving vessel within 2 minutes.  By the time we arrived at 10:00 only about 10 were seen swimming

PHOTOS

SEAL WALK

Monday, December 17, 2019

96 harbor seals hauled-out on main sandbar,

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

Saturday, December 21, 2019

103 seals were hauled out on the main sandbar during an e   arly monitoring session, but once again had been spooked off the haulout while we were away.  When we arrived at 10:00 only 8 hauled out rocks. PHOTOS UNAVAILABLE

SEAL WALK

Sunday, December 22, 2019

113 harbor seals were hauled out on the main sandbar during our early monitoring session. Unbelievably, yet again, they had been flushed from the haulout by the time we returned 2 hours later.

Surprisingly, we found 30 seals hauled out on a distant sandbar northeast of the usual haulout (secondary haul-out site).  With patience, we were ultimately watch 30 additional harbor seals haul back onto the main haulout site!

PHOTOS

SEAL WALK

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

127 harbor seals were hauled out on the main sandbar

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

Sunday, January 05, 2020

102 harbor seals were hauled out on the main sandbar

PHOTOS

SEAL WALK

Friday, January 10, 2020

25 harbor seals hauled out on their secondary region of the sandbar, utilized when disturbed from the main area

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

Sunday, January 12, 2020

73 harbor seals (70 on seals were hauled out on the main sandbar and 3 on rocks)

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

Saturday, January 18, 2020

87 harbor seals (78 on seals were hauled out on the main sandbar and 9 on rocks)

PHOTOS

 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

64 harbor seals (61 on main sandbar and 3 on rocks)

PHOTOS

SEAL WALK

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

137 harbor seals (130 on main sandbar and 7 on rocks)

Prior to a seal walk for the Saxon Middle School of Patchogue, @DrArtieK photographed and took video of 137 harbor seals hauled out (130 on the sandbar and 7 on the rocks) at Cupsogue. With the school group, we stopped at the newer parking area just to get a glimpse of the seals from a distance. We watched in disbelief as an airplane (C-FBKB of Kenn Borek Air Limited) flew over the seals and spooked all into the water. The plane continued to fly over the area repeatedly and we were able to get clear photos to send to the authorities

PHOTOS AND VIDEO

SEAL WALK FOR SAXTON MIDDLE SCHOOL (PATCHOGUE)

Friday, January 24, 2020

17 harbor seals (12 on rocks and 5 in water)

Prior to this seal monitoring session, @DrArtieK noticed a guy in a wet-suit eastward down the road to the parking with his dog (light colored lab). Dr. K. had a bad feeling that the seals were gone. The man got in his car and drove down to the area where we take people to view seals, he loaded his paddleboard and drove past. Of course the seals were not on the sandbar and about 12 were on the rocks with about another 5 swimming. Dr. K. didn’t see him spook the seals, but knew he had done so (he's done it repeatedly).

Harassment is defined by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) essentially as any action that causes a marine mammal to significantly alter its behavior. Folks, if you ever see someone purposefully or regularly causing harassment, please try to capture it on video and contact me (ahkopelman@cresli.org). I will share with you the contact information for NOAA Fisheries and NYSDEC Police enforcement agents.

We are so lucky to live in a place where we have 19 species of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and 5 species of seals (pinnipeds).

Let's share the waters with them in peace.

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

Sunday, January 26, 2020

105 harbor seals on main sandbar

 

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

Sunday, February 02, 2020

157 harbor seals on main sandbar

 

PHOTOS and VIDEO

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

Saturday, February 08, 2020

31 harbor seals hauled out during a monitoring session prior to the scheduled seal walk.  These seals were exceedingly nervous and most appeared to have recently left the water. The behavior was most-likely the results of prior harassment. 20 harbor seals were hauled-out when we arrived later for the seal walk

PHOTOS

SEAL WALK

Sunday, February 09, 2020

60-80 harbor seals hauled out during a monitoring session prior to the scheduled seal walk.  Just before we were ready to document the haulout with photos, a single-engine propeller plane flew south of the haulout area just over the ocean.  The moment these seals heard this plane in the distance, all of them jumped into the water. Once again, this behavior was most-likely the results of prior harassment by the same aircraft.  16 harbor seals retuned to the sandbar 25 minutes later. 1.5 hours later, 6 harbor seals were eventually found swimming near the near-shore rocky haulout area during our seal walk after 25 minutes after we arrived.

PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

SEAL WALK

Monday, February 10, 2020

78 harbor seals on main sandbar

 

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

133 harbor seals on main sandbar

 

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

Sunday, February 16, 2020

142 harbor seals on main sandbar

 

PHOTOS

SEAL WALK

Monday, February 17, 2020

177 seals (176 harbor seals and 1 juvenile gray seal) hauled out during a monitoring session prior to a scheduled seal walk for Stony Brook University MAR395.  Once again, a single-engine propeller plane flew south of the haulout area just over the ocean.  The moment these seals heard this plane AGAIN in the distance, all of them jumped into the water.  

 

This time we were able to capture the plane's # and though social media were able to find out whom to contact regarding the plane owners and the flying school who's training flights have been causing the seals to flush. We hope that theyv are able to effect changes in where or when they fly.

 

PHOTOS (before and after)

SEAL WALK for Marine Mammals Research Techniques course at Stony Brook Southampton

Saturday, February 22, 2020

138 harbor seals hauled out

 

PHOTOS

SEAL WALK

Sunday, February 23, 2020

110 harbor seals hauled out

 

PHOTOS

SEAL WALK

Monday, February 24, 2020

124 seals (123 harbor seals and 1 juvenile gray seal)

 

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

 Thursday, March 5, 2020

201 seals (200 harbor and 1 juvenile gray) prior to a walk for the Greenport Elementary School 5th grade.

 

Amazingly there were 218 seals (217 harbor and 1 juvenile gray) when we arrived

 

PHOTOS

SEAL WALK FOR GREENPORT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 5TH GRADE

 Saturday, March 7, 2020

30 harbor seals 

Wild, windy, and high water levels 

 

PHOTOS

 SEAL WALK

 Sunday, March 8, 2020

182 seals hauled out (1 gray seal and 181 harbor seals) prior and during our seal walk. Once again, as we watched, a private vessel got too close to the seals and 94 seals were spooked into the water. Come one folks, we can do better.

The incident was captured on video and the vessels ID # was sent to the authorities for violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act

PHOTOS

 SEAL WALK

 Sunday, March 16, 2020

30 seals swimming

 

PHOTOS

 SEAL MONITORING SESSION

 Sunday, March 18, 2020

192 seals hauled out (1 gray seal and 191 harbor seals). 

 

PHOTOS

 SEAL MONITORING SESSION

 Sunday, March 24, 2020

152 seals hauled out (1 gray seal and 151 harbor seals). 

 

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

 Sunday, March 27, 2020

149 seals hauled out (1 gray seal and 148 harbor seals). 

 

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

 Saturday, April 4, 2020

104 seals hauled out (1 gray seal on the ocean side and 148 harbor seals on the sandbar). 

 

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

 Sunday, April 12, 2020

3 harbor seals seals swimming in Moriches Bay and 1 gray seal pup hauled out on the ocean side

 

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

 Thursday, April 16, 2020

76 seals hauled out: 4 gray seal pups and 70 harbor seals on the sandbar in the bay. On the ocean side, 1 sub-adult gray seal and 1 gray seal pup hauled out

 

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

 Tuesday, April 28, 2020

8 seals hauled out: 3 gray seal pups and 5 harbor seals on the sandbar in the bay. 

 

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

 Sunday, May 3, 2020

28 seals hauled out: 3 gray seal pups and 25 harbor seals on the sandbar in the bay. 

 

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

 Sunday, May 7, 2020

25 seals hauled out: 2 gray seal pups and 23 harbor seals on the sandbar in the bay. 

 

PHOTOS

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

 


Massive seal haulout at Cupsogue, February 2, 2020. 157 seals from CRESLI_ Inc. on Vimeo.


 
Season passes for unlimited seal walks are available


More information on past seal walk results

CRESLI is a non-profit organization as defined in section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All Contributions are deductible to the fullest extent of the law. A copy of the last financial report filed with the Department of State may be obtained by writing to NYS Dept. of State, Office of Charities Registration, Albany, NY 12231.