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 2021-2022 Seal Walks and Research at Cupsogue Beach

Over 30,600 seal encounters at Cupsogue since 2006

By: A. H. Kopelman, PhD


CRESLI 2021-2022 Seal Walks and Research at Cupsogue Beach

CRESLI 2021/2022 Seal Walk Season is over!

  • We will start again in late November 2022

30,651 seal encounters at Cupsogue since 2006 (502 trips)!

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

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


Here is a slideshow of the 165 best photos and videos from the 2021-2022 seal season seal research and walks at Cupsogue Beach (2441 seal encounters in 38 trips).



Best photos and videos from the 2021-2022 seal season at Cupsogue 

(use this link to see and/or buy any of the photos and videos in the slideshow above)


  • Registration is required!

    • DONATIONS while NOT REQUIRED, are RECOMMENDED because they help us fund our research and education programs. Remember these are simply suggested donations ($5.00 per adult; $3.00 under 18

    • If you have a confirmed reservation, you will not be turned away. DONATIONS help us, but are not requiredWe 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.  


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


Please be advised that until as of 2/10/2022 facial coverings are optional

  • Each walk will be capped at a maximum of 50 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.


  • Please DO NOT PARTICIPATE IF YOU ARE SICK OR HAVE ANY COVID-19 SYMPTOMS. If you have recently been in contact with someone who is sick, Please Stay Home!


Here is a slideshow of the 165 best photos and videos from this season's seal research and walks at Cupsogue Beach (2441 seal encounters in 38 trips).


Best photos and videos from the 2021-2022 seal season at Cupsogue (use this link to see and/or buy any of the photos and videos in the slideshow above)


CRESLI 2021/2022 SEAL SIGHTINGS AT CUPSOGUE BEACH

OBSERVATIONS

Monday November 15, 2021

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

21 Harbor seals hauled-out 

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Saturday November 20, 2021

SEAL WALK

We saw just 1 harbor seal in Moriches Bay near the haulout site, but weren't able to get a photo. We later searched for and found 2 humpback whales seen about  400-800 meters from shore on the ocean side.

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Sunday November 28, 2021

SEAL WALK 

43 Atlantic harbor seals (Phoca vitulina vitulina) and 2 Atlantic gray seals (Halichoerus grypus atlantica) on the new secondary haulout area of the sandbar, NNE of what was the main haulout site at Cupsogue Beach County Park. These seals were approximately 800 yards away, in an area used when disturbed and flushed from the primary eastern haulout site. We watched a the seals reacted en-masse to an  unknown disturbance to their west (based upon the rapid head turns). Over the ensuing 30 minutes, we continued to remain low and quiet and watched as the seals swam past us, a few briefly looking our way.

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Wednesday December 1, 2021

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

51 Atlantic harbor seals (Phoca vitulina vitulina) and 2 Atlantic gray seals (Halichoerus grypus atlantica) on the new secondary haulout area of the sandbar, NNE of what was the main haulout site at Cupsogue Beach County Park. 

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Thursday December 2, 2021

SEAL WALK FOR OREGON MIDDLE SCHOOL

44 Atlantic harbor seals (Phoca vitulina vitulina) and 2 Atlantic gray seals (Halichoerus grypus atlantica) on the new secondary haulout area of the sandbar NNE of what was the main haulout site at Cupsogue Beach County Park. These seals were approximately 650 yards away.  I regret to note that we were TOO LOUD and the seals reacted by jumping into the water. We left the area to allow the seals to return, which they did in about 10 minutes.

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Saturday December 4, 2021

SEAL WALK

25-30 Atlantic harbor seals (Phoca vitulina vitulina) were hauled out very far away at the tertiary northeastern haulout area.

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Sunday December 12, 2021

SEAL WALK

We encountered about 20 seals hauled out at the tertiary far northeastern haulout area, but they were flushed into the water. Here are several of those that remained

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Monday December 13, 2021

SEAL MONITORING SESSION 

Taken over 1.5 hrs, 25 (early)- 63 (later) seals (60 Atlantic harbor seals and 3 Atlantic gray seals), hauled out at the far NE haulout area at Cupsogue

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Thursday December 16, 2021

SEAL WALK FOR SAXTON MIDDLE SCHOOL

Once again the seals were far off on their haulout area to the NNE . Approximately 30-35 seals were observed and photographed

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Sunday December 19, 2021

SEAL WALK

The winds were from the N gusting over 25 knots (31.25 mph), the water level was so high that the "new" haulout area was underwater.

No seals were hauled out and we were able to see 2 seals swimming.

No photos were taken.

Monday December 20, 2021

SEAL MONITORING SESSION 

There was no wind and the water was like glass (Beaufort Scale 0). Approximately 35 seals were seen, including a few harbor seals that were photographed swimming near the "old" haulout area across from the old overlook above the rocks.

The majority of the seals were hauled out on a new spot, even further north, almost 3/4 of a mile away.  They were so far away that it was impossible to get an accurate cont.  The exact reasons for this  change in haulout areas are unknown.  We hope that the changes are temporary and that the seals will ultimately return to their normal haulout areas soon.

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Monday December 27, 2021

SEAL MONITORING SESSION 

65 harbor seals hauled out, then flushed from the "new" haulout area in Moriches Bay. Later a harbor seal and a humpback whale were seen on the ocean side as well

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Tuesday December 28, 2021

SEAL MONITORING SESSION 

75 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out, 66 hauled out in the "new" area NNE, 9 hauled out in the prior main haulout area. One seal we hadn't seen since March 2016, Lucky, was back.

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Friday, December 31, 2021

SEAL WALK

Approximately 70 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out,  in the "new" area NNE

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Sunday, January 2, 2022

SEAL WALK

While monitoring the fog-bound haulout area prior to the seal walk we found about 30 seals hauled out in their "old place," namely the area they used from 2004-2006. 1.5 hours later, the seals were still fog bound, but at their "new" distant haulout to the NE. We waited paitiently and in a short while the fog cleared to show us ~90 seals hauled out in the "new" area.

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Sunday, January 9, 2022

SEAL WALK

75 seals at sunrise! 29 at their main haulout area and 46 on the new area on the NE end of the sandbar.

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Sunday, January 16, 2022

SEAL WALK

12 harbor seals observed swimming

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Thursday, January 20, 2022

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

Up to ~41 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out on the far NE edge of the sandbar in Moriches Bay at Cupsogue Beach

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Saturday, January 22, 2022

SEAL WALK: Seatuck Environmental Association's Greentree Foundation Teachers’ Ecology Workshop

Again to ~41 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out on the far NE edge of the sandbar in Moriches Bay at Cupsogue Beach. This time we were there for a beautiful sunset

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

113 Atlantic harbor seals  (1 on rocks and 112 on the primary haulout area) in Moriches Bay at Cupsogue Beach

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Friday, January 28, 2022

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

146 Atlantic harbor seals on the primary haulout area in Moriches Bay at Cupsogue Beach

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Thursday, February 10, 2022

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

145 seals: 2 swimming Atlantic gray seals, 2 swimming Atlantic harbor seals, 137 Atlantic harbor seals on the tertiary haulout area on the far NE edge of the sandbar in Moriches Bay at Cupsogue Beach, and 4 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out on rocks

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Saturday, February 12, 2022

SEAL WALK 

132 Atlantic harbor seals on the secondary haulout region of the sandbar at Cupsogue Beach. They remained from about 7:00 AM until around 10:30 AM when there were spooked from the sandbar by some unscupulous person flying a drone. PLEASE NEVER FLY A DRONE ANYHWHERE NEAR RESTING SEALS!

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Sunday, February 13, 2022

SEAL WALK 

5 Atlantic harbor seals swimming and cavorting on a snowy morning

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

128 Atlantic harbor seals on the tertiary haulout area on the far NE edge of the sandbar in Moriches Bay at Cupsogue Beach.

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Monday, February 21, 2022

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

132 Atlantic harbor seals on the tertiary haulout area on the far NE edge of the sandbar in Moriches Bay at Cupsogue Beach.

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Thursday, February 24, 2022

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

5 harbor seals swimming (including old-timers "Starburst" and "Horseshoe," as well as the new "Theta right.". All others were gone.

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Saturday, February 26, 2022

SEAL MONITORING SESSION followed by a SEAL WALK

No seals were hauled out on the sand bar prior to or during the seal walk. 8 seals were seen in total, 4 before the walk and another 4 during the walk, all were on and/or near the rocky haulout area.

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Sunday, February 27, 2022

SEAL WALK

With howling NW winds, we were able to view ~42 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out in a tight group at the tertiary region of the sandbar.

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

SEAL WALK

We found 92-106 seals hauled out on the NE tertiary haulout region of sandbar and later found 1 seal hauled out on rocks

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Thursday, March 10, 2022

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

101 Atlantic harbor seals on the tertiary haulout area on the far NE edge of the sandbar in Moriches Bay at Cupsogue Beach.

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Sunday, March 13, 2022

SEAL WALK

Once again, with strong winds out of the NW, seals were swimming or hauled out on the rocks and stayed in the lee of the wind. The newly named "theta right" was seen swimming. Looking back over images, it was determined that "theta right" is the entangled seal we've seen now for 13 years. It is still being strangled by plastic

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Saturday, March 26, 2022

SEAL WALK

168 seals were seen this day, including 1 Atlantic gray seal and 161 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out on the sandbar and 4 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out on the rocks seen during our seal walk. After the walk Dr. Kopelman was told by Cupsogue Beach Superintendant Ryan Sommerville, of a seal on the ocean side lying at the high tide wrack line. This was a yearling harp seal. The seal was reported to the NYS Stranding Hotline (631) 369-9829. All harp seal photos were taken at 200' with a 600mm telephoto lens.

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Sunday, March 27, 2022

SEAL WALK

Interactions between ~50 Atlantic harbor seals and juvenile bald eagles on the secondary (closer) haulout area of the sandbar in Moriches Bay. Eventually all seals were flushed by the eagles.  Later 1 young gray seal hauled out on the rocks 

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

124 Atlantic harbor and 1 gray seal hauled out on the far NE edge of the sandbar in Moriches Bay

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Thursday, April 07, 2022

1 Atlantic harbor seals swimming in Moriches Bay

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Saturday, April 09, 2022

65 harbor seals today. 60 hauled out on the far NE region of the sandbar, 3 on on the rocks, and 2 swimming in Moriches Bay

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Sunday, April 10, 2022

On this seal walk we encountered 81 seals hauled out on the secondary (closer) haulout region of the sandbar in Moriches Bay.

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

On this seal walk we encountered 30 seals hauled out on the far NE region of the sandbar Moriches Bay.

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Saturday, April 23, 2022

12 harbor seals hauled out on the far NE region of the sandbar in Moriches Bay

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

Sunday, April 24, 2022

19 harbor seals were hauled out on the far NE region of the sandbar Moriches Bay and photographed from 670 yards away prior to the seal walk.  When we arrived over an hour later, the seals were gone from the NE region of the sandbar. We stayed and talked and eventually were able to watch a lone harbor repeatedly haul-out and return to the water. 

PHOTOS available to view (and/or purchase) via this link

 


 

Seals are seen typically throughout the 7 months between November and May, however the average number of individuals per sighting varies per month. Take a look at the chart below.

 

Monthly mean and standard error, # of harbor seals per sightings at Cupsogue  from 2006-2021


 

REMAINING SEAL WALKS

Saturday, May 7, 2022 5:45 AM

Canceled due to weather

Sunday, May 8, 2022 6:45 AM

Canceled due to weather

Wednesday, May 11, 2022 9:15 AM

Scroll down to register


Contact Dr. Artie Kopelman to arrange additional dates and times during the week for school groups, homeschoolers, and other groups


 

REGISTER FOR THE SEAL WALKS BELOW


 


2020-2021 CRESLI Seal walk schedule, monitoring sessions, & status reports (2844 seal encounters in 46 trips)


Average number of seals per sighting per year


 

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!


 

CRESLI Cupsogue Seal Videos on Vimeo


Information on past CRESLI seal walks (from 2002-2021)

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.