Archive for the ‘Marine Mammals’ Category

Stranding Weekend: Gray Seals on Billingsgate Shoals

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

bsgs 003 480

 Billingsgate Shoals Occupied by Gray Seals

Participants in the Stranding Weekend on Outer Cape Cod boarded the Naviator in Wellfleet Harbor this afternoon for a cruise to Billingsgate Shoals at the mouth of Wellfleet Bay.  The shoals are found off the southern tip of the Great Island peninsula, across a swift flowing channel from Jeremy Point.  As the tide drops and Billingsgate Shoals rises from the bottom of Cape Cod Bay, gray seals mass on the moist sands.

bsgs 002 netting 480

 Gray Seal Entangled in Gill Netting

 As the Naviator held station off Billingsgate, binoculars and camera caught three seals that had signs of gill net entanglement.  The third gray seal from the bottom left in the photograph above has extensive netting wrapped around its neck.

bsgs 001 netting 480

Close-Up of Gray Seal Entangled in Gill Netting

A close-up of this seal shows the gill netting more clearly. 

Stranding Weekend Begins at Wellfleet Bay

Friday, November 5th, 2010


The Stranding Weekend field school has begun this evening at Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.

Juvenile Harbor Seal under Surveillance in Wellfleet Harbor

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

post hssp 001 480

Lethargic Juvenile Harbor Seal in Wellfleet

Turtle Journal visited the tip of Shirttail Point this afternoon to check on the lethargic juvenile harbor seal that has been resting in this area of Wellfleet Harbor for more than a week.  (See previous Turtle Journal articles below.)  The tide was rising and would soon reach its flood in about two hours.  Waves were already rolling over this sad seal, which would soon be engulfed by the rising waters.

post hssp 004 480

IFAW Monitoring Juvenile Harbor Seal

IFAW Marine Mammal Rescue team is monitoring this juvenile seal and has posted signs alerting the public to keep away and to avoid disturbing this animal.  The picture above is from Friday’s low tide in the same spot where the seal was found again today.

 post hssp 003 480

 Juvenile Harbor Seal Washed by Rising Tide

The edge of the Wellfleet Pier (Shirttail Point) offers a sandy resting spot for this young seal between high tides.  As the new moon arrives this coming weekend, tides will rise over 12.5 feet and this area will fall several feet under water.  It is possible that these astronomically high tides will cause the ailing young seal to move to a new location.  Turtle Journal will be co-leading a Stranding Weekend Program at Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.  Participants will keep a weather-eye for this animal if it moves from its current location.

Juvenile Harbor Seal Basks Off Wellfleet Pier

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

harbor seal 25 Oct 2010 003 480

Juvenile Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)

Harbor seals are frequent fall visitors to Wellfleet Harbor, where adults can often be observed chasing schools of menhaden and hauling out on the floating docks of the Inner Harbor.  (See Ode to a Lazy Seal and Wellfleet Harbor Seals Return for Halloween.)  Yet, this small lethargic juvenile seal seemed out of sorts and out of place when Turtle Journal encountered it on Tuesday afternoon. 

harbor seal 25 Oct 2010 004 480

Juvenile Harbor Seal Hauls Out at Wellfleet Pier

The seal had taken refuge on the sandy beach just off the working fishermen’s section of the Wellfleet Pier.  When Sue Wieber Nourse spotted the juvenile, it lay quite motionless on the warm sands heated by 60 degree late October sunshine.  Since marine mammals are federally protected, Sue ensured she did not disturb the animal by staying a significant distance from the critter and photographing the event with telephoto magnification.

Juvenile Harbor Seal Savors Sunny Autumn Day

As Sue filmed a short clip of the basking juvenile, some tourists approached within 50 feet of the animal and it began to respond to their presence.  After they were waved off, the harbor seal resumed its patient wait for the tide to envelop the warm sands on which it had hauled out.  Turtle Journal alerted the marine mammal stranding network that said they had kept this seal under observation at this spot for the last 24 hours. 

harbor seal 25 Oct 2010 005 480

Juvenile Harbor Seal Snoozes as Tide Rises 

As Turtle Journal left Wellfleet Pier, the juvenile harbor seal seemed to be snoozing as the tide continued to rise.  When Sue returned to the pier later in the day, the young seal had disappeared with the now receding tide. 

Lethargic Juvenile Harbor Seal in Wellfleet Harbor

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

harbor seal 25 Oct 2010 001 480

Juvenile Harbor Seal in Wellfleet Harbor 

Sue Wieber Nourse of Turtle Journal discovered a small, juvenile harbor seal on the beach just west of the fisherman’s pier in Wellfleet Harbor early this afternoon.  The animal appeared quite lethargic when Sue first arrived on the scene.

harbor seal 25 Oct 2010 002 480

Juvenile Harbor Seal

After a few moments the juvenile seemed to perk up a bit, yet continued to bask on the beach.  We reported this seal to the marine mammal stranding network (IFAW) and were told that it had been observed at this location for at least 24 hours.  Volunteers from the stranding network were checking the animal periodically.  Should you find a marine mammal on a Cape Cod beach, do NOT disturb the animal.  They are protected by federal law.  Instead, report the observation to the stranding network at 508-743-9548 … or you can always call the Turtle Journal 24/7 hotline at 508-274-5108.