Snow Days and Seals

Today started off much like yesterday. I slept late, took Scruffy for a walk, made some coffee and turned on my computer. I checked my email, read the news, fed the animals and had my coffee. Around 11, the phone rang. It was my friend, Marylee, asking me if I was busy. She got a call about a stranded seal on the beach in Longport. I told her I would be glad to check it out. I quickly pulled on my snow boats, coat, and hat, grabbed my camera and ran out the door.

When I arrived, a Longport police officer was already there.  I told him my name and said I was a volunteer for the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, NJ. He told me what he knew about the seal and I quickly trudged down the snowy beach.

As I neared the seal, my heart started to  pound. I had never seen a seal up close before! What if it is hurt or ill? What if s/he  is bleeding? All these questions raced through my mind. But as I got closer, my fears started to disappear. This was a harbor seal, an adult, and a healthy one. It was resting, lying slightly on its side, its head raised and its rear flippers raised. A perfect ‘banana’. It was a harbor seal, dark brown fur or pelage on its belly, lighter brownish gray fur on its back. And the one thing that let me know that it was a harbor seal–a heart shaped nose!

longport 32nd street #1 seal banana

I took some photos of the seal with my camera and phone, then watched the seal for about an hour. During that time I spoke to a few folks who were curious to see what was resting on the beach.  As I was speaking to a woman, I heard a strange ‘slapping’ sound and was glad to see the seal wiggle like a caterpillar back into the surf and quickly swim away. S/he had their rest and was off to the depths of the Atlantic!

My phone rang as I sat in my car, thawing out my frozen fingers and toes. It was Jay from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center. “Are you still in Longport, Mary?” he inquired. “Yes, I am.” I replied.  “Well, there has been another seal sighting on 24th Street. Would you mind checking it out?” Jay asked. “Not at all!” came my excited reply.

I turned my car around and headed to 24th Street,  just 8 blocks away from where the first seal was located.  Is it the same seal that I just saw or was this another? If it’s another, is this one injured? As I hurried down the beach, I noticed right away this was another harbor seal and another healthy one! What luck–two seals on one day!

Harbor Seal Longport, NJ 2.09.10
Harbor Seal Longport, NJ 2.09.10

 If you click on the picture above, you can see that this seal was very sleepy! 🙂

I spent another hour or more observing this little guy to make sure s/he was okay. I took pictures and videos and emailed them to the MMSC. This seal also seemed to have ‘hauled out’ to take a short rest and to warm up.

After watching him rest, I became very cold and decided to head home. I knew my little dog was home waiting for my return. I smiled as I left the beach, happy because I had the rare opportunity to witness one of God’s beautiful marine mammals, not once, but TWICE in one day!
If you would like to learn more about harbor seals and other marine mammals, please visit the links below:

Marine Mammal Stranding Center

Harbor Seal Fact Sheet

Harbor Seals

 

14 thoughts on “Snow Days and Seals

  • May 4, 2010 at 12:39 pm
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    Hi, Ms.lenahn i am sorry for not coming to school today i am sure that i will come tomorrow adn you can give my homework to lushis in Ms.hiderland’s class please can you do that i need my homework and the reason why i did not come to school today is because i am sick and i threw up.

    Reply
  • April 23, 2010 at 5:47 pm
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    Hi, Ms.lenahan. I love the rat pictures. I have a question and my question is do i have to bring in regular clothes like jeans?

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    • April 24, 2010 at 8:22 am
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      Kerlanda,
      Bring clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. I want to work in our garden, clean out the leaves, cultivate around the plants, do some raking, etc. Jeans, t-shirt, sweatshirt are fine. I hope it won’t rain!

      See you on Monday!
      ~Ms. Lenahan

      Reply
  • March 18, 2010 at 1:44 pm
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    Ms. lenahan, how did you get the seal of shore. did any one help you? Were did you put the seal back in the ocean? When you got there was he or her breathing?
    Was it oky? wright back

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  • March 18, 2010 at 1:40 pm
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    wow! I think the seals where an amazing thing to look at. I wish that I whould be able to see one of those seals one day. And I also whould like to see an Eastern Goldfinch. byeeeeeeee!

    Reply
  • February 11, 2010 at 6:50 am
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    awesome! what a great experience! p.s. you think my class fish okay?

    Reply
  • February 10, 2010 at 8:57 pm
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    Club Soda…not Seals! Way to go Sister Mary Bridget!

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  • February 10, 2010 at 8:55 pm
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    What an amazing experience! I’m so glad the seals were ok, and that you had the chance to observe them for awhile.

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  • February 10, 2010 at 8:48 pm
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    Oh my. Its great that you found a seal. And I like how you said it was God’s most beautiful marine mammals, I really like that.

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    • February 11, 2010 at 7:38 pm
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      @Arielle&Ayala,
      Hi ladies! I wish you could have been there with me to see these two seals. It truly was a wonderful experience!

      ~Ms. L

      Reply
  • February 10, 2010 at 7:10 pm
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    Hi Ms.Lenahan! I think that it is amzing that you got to see two seals in one day! I bet it was fun on the beach in the snow! I also like the pictures you posted of the seals. I hope you had a great time! 🙂
    ~ Ameena

    Reply
    • February 11, 2010 at 7:38 pm
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      Ameena,
      Thanks for reading my story. It really was amazing to see not one, but two harbor seals in one day! It was fun to be on the beach in the winter. There are many more things to see on the beach in the winter than the summer. I saw sea urchins, razor clams, mermaid purses and whelk egg casings, along with many crabs and clams. I also found the skeleton of some very large fish with very large teeth!!

      It truly was a great day. I miss seeing all you guys! I hope you are enjoying all this free time.

      See you on Tuesday,
      ~ML

      Reply

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