CRESLI 2020-2021 Seal Walks and Research at Cupsogue Beach
27,911 seal encounters at Cupsogue since 2006
By: A. H. Kopelman, PhD
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.
Donations, while not required, certainly help us conduct our research and education programs. Remember these are simply suggested donations and are fully refundable
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.
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
|Monday November 09, 2020||SEAL MONITORING SESSION|| |
2 harbor seals swimming
|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
|Sunday November 22, 2020||SEAL WALK|| |
Quick view of a large diving seal. Could not ascertain species.
|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
|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.
|Sunday, November 29, 2020||SEAL WALK|| |
35 harbor seals hauled-out on primary area
|Thursday December 10, 2020||SEAL MONITORING SESSION|| |
83 harbor seals hauled-out on primary area
|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.
|Wednesday December 23, 2020||SEAL MONITORING SESSION|| |
83 harbor seals hauled-out on primary area
|Saturday December 26, 2020||SEAL WALK|| |
Several swimming harbor seals seen during an early monitoring session and during the seal walk
|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.
|Friday January 1, 2021||SEAL MONITORING SESSION|| |
~37 harbor seals (~25 hauled-out on secondary area, 2 on rocks, ~10 swimming)
|Saturday January 2, 2021||NYS DEC 1ST DAY HIKE|| |
5 harbor seals swimming
|Wednesday January 6, 2021||SEAL MONITORING SESSION|| |
171 seals (170 harbor seals and 1 gray seal) hauled out on the primary area
|Saturday January 9, 2021||SEAL WALK|| |
50 harbor seals hauled-out on primary area, 4 on rocks
|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.
|Tuesday January 12, 2021||SEAL MONITORING SESSION|| |
~10 harbor seals swimming
|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.
|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
|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.
|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
|Tuesday January26, 2021||MONITORING SESSION|| |
20 harbor seals ( 6 on rocks and 14 swimming)
|Thursday February 4, 2021||MONITORING SESSION|| |
186 harbor seals hauled out on the primary area
|Saturday February 6, 2021||MONITORING SESSION and SEAL WALK|| |
176 harbor seals hauled out on the primary area
|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
|Wednesday February 17, 2021||MONITORING SESSION|| |
78 harbor seals hauled out on the primary area of the sandbar
|Saturday February 20, 2021||SEAL WALK|| |
43 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out on sandbar at the now recently being reused 2006 area
|Sunday February 21, 2021||SEAL WALK|| |
65 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out on sandbar at the now recently being reused 2006 area
|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
|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
|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
|Tuesday March 9, 2021||MONITORING SESSION|| |
134 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out at the now recently being reused 2006 area
|Saturday March 20, 2021||SEAL WALK|| |
128 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out at the now recently being reused 2006 area
|Saturday March 21, 2021||SEAL WALK|| |
12 Atlantic harbor seals swimming
|Wednesday March 23, 2021||MONITORING SESSION|| |
168 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out at primary haulout area
|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
|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
|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!!
|Saturday April 24, 2021||SEAL WALK||An Atlantic gray seal pup and an Atlantic harbor seal juvenile|
|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.
Submitting your reservation will not take you directly to a system for paying your deposit.
- 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.
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!
2019-2020 SEAL SIGHTINGS AT CUPSOGUE with photo links
Season passes for unlimited seal walks are available