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

27,911 seal encounters at Cupsogue since 2006

By: A. H. Kopelman, PhD


CRESLI 2020-2021 Seal Walks and Research at Cupsogue Beach

CRESLI 2021 Seal Walk Season is over (we will start again in November 2021)

27,911 seal encounters at Cupsogue since 2006 (457 trips).

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  

    • Donations, while not required, certainly help us conduct our research and education programs. Remember these are simply suggested donations and are fully refundable

    • This year, for reasons explained below, 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. As in the past decade, if you want to attend, but are unable to provide a donation, you will not be turned away if we have room.

    • We are severely restricted in the number of participants this year. We hope that next year we will have put the Covid-19 Pandemic in out rear-view mirror. At that point, while registration will be required, prior donations will not


  • We ask for this deposit because of the limited space on the walks, high demand, and past years in which reservations were made and  10-70% of the folks not showing up AND not notifying us in advance.  When that happens, the participants who might have been added from the wait-list are precluded from attending. 


    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

(2844 seal encounters in 46 trips)

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 at the now recently being reused 2006 area

PHOTOS

Sunday February 21, 2021 SEAL WALK 

65 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out on sandbar at the now recently being reused 2006 area

PHOTOS

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

195 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out on sandbar at the now recently being reused 2006 area 

PHOTOS

Saturday March 6, 2021 SEAL WALK

49 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out at two distinct regions of the sandbar. 29 at the far NNE end, and 20 at the now recently being reused 2006 area

PHOTOS

Sunday March 7, 2021 SEAL WALK

85 Atlantic harbor seals. 2 on rocks and 83 hauled out at the now recently being reused 2006 area

PHOTOS

Tuesday March 9, 2021 MONITORING SESSION 

134 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out at the now recently being reused 2006 area

PHOTOS

Saturday March 20, 2021 SEAL WALK

128 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out at the now recently being reused 2006 area

PHOTOS

Saturday March 21, 2021 SEAL WALK

12 Atlantic harbor seals swimming

PHOTOS

Wednesday March 23, 2021 MONITORING SESSION 

168 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out at primary haulout area

PHOTOS

VIDEO

Saturday April 3, 2021 SEAL WALK

153 seals including 132 Atlantic harbor seals and 1 juvenile Atlantic gray seal hauled out at the reused 2006 area, and 20 hauled out further east near the Moriches Coast Guard Station

PHOTOS

Sunday April 4, 2021 SEAL WALK

192 seals including 189 Atlantic harbor seals and 3 juvenile Atlantic gray seals hauled out at the reused 2006 area. We watched as they reacted a sound to the west, most of the seals turned to their left (west) and half entered the water, then the rest went in. Most seals headed to the inlet and about 60 swam to the tertiary haulout area nearer the Moriches Coast Guard station

PHOTOS

Sunday April 18, 2021 SEAL WALK

93 seals including 90 Atlantic harbor seals and 3 juvenile Atlantic gray seals hauled out at the reused 2006 area when we arrived. They were flushed into the water, but began to return within a few minutes. 11 minutes after being flushed,there were 69 seals (1 juvenile Atlantic gray seal and 62 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out on the sandbar with 6 harbor seals swimming). In about another 20 minutes they will be flushed again by a kayaker. KAYAKERS, STAY AWAY FROM RESTING SEALS!!

PHOTOS

Saturday April 24, 2021 SEAL WALK An Atlantic gray seal pup and an Atlantic harbor seal juvenile

PHOTOS

Sunday May 2, 2021 SEAL WALK

We weren't sure if the seals were still around. From a great distance, we saw an Atlantic gray seal pup move into the water. Slowly,as we walked to our viewing area (600 feet from the sand bar), we found that the seal had returned. Later it would ultimately be joined by 3 other Atlantic gray seal pups and 2 Atlantic harbor seal juveniles. Patience and quite observation led to our success.

PHOTOS

     


 


REGISTER FOR THE SEAL WALKS BELOW


 


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

  • A deposit of any amount in advance helps to secure your space(s) on any seal walk. Deposits can be made via https://www.cresli.org/common/donations/donate.cfm?clientID=12000.
  • These are simply suggested donations and are fully refundable. We ask for this deposit because of the limited space on the walks, high demand, and past years in which reservations were made and 10-70% of the folks not showing up AND not notifying us in advance.  When that happens, the participants who might have been added from the wait-list are precluded from attending. 
  • Remainder payments can be made via check or credit card at the walk check in.
  • Please understand that due to Covid restrictions in the number of participants and to be assured of if there being space for you, a deposit of any amount is necessary. Your deposit is fully refundable.


Best Photos of the 2019-2020 Seal Season


 

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

 


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.