Thursday, February 25, 2016

HARBOR SEALS IN THE WATER AND ON THE BEACH

The Harbor Seal gang at Seacrest in West Seattle is still turning up each day.  Today there were 9 in the group doing the same thing they have been doing for weeks.  See earlier post.
Yesterday a single harbor seal hauled out for a rest at Lincoln Park in West Seattle.  Seals on the beach have been unusual for the 2015 pupping season.  Numbers of weaned seals hauling out on Puget Sound beaches is down from the last few years.  The reason for this sparse showing is not understood.  Seal Sitters first responders who spend many hours observing our local waters had noticed that not many harbor seals seemed to be in the Seattle area.
This all changed about 2 months ago.  Fisherman using Seacrest dock reported seeing a number of seals each day near the dock.  Scuba divers also reported seal activity in the area.
I have been checking every day for the past 2 weeks and observed between 6 and 9 harbor seals feeding as a group off Seacrest.  Today there were 9 feeding as a group and a 10th seal feeding on its own.
The harbor seal at Lincoln Park hauled out twice on the 24th.  The first time it went back in the water before it could be monitored but reappeared a way north at Coleman Pool area at mid Lincoln Park beach.  This seal has been named "Dusty" and was monitored from about noon till 3:15 when it went back in the water.  Dusty appeared thin and possibly had a smaller than normal left front flipper.  When moving on the beach Dusty used only the right front flipper for support, dragging the left flipper at its side.  Dusty has not been seen again on the beach.
While observing Dusty we also observed at least one Harbor Porpoise off Lincoln Park....there may have been more but only one surfaced at a time.
So we have somewhat of a mystery.....why so few seals being seen on the beaches, and just where do the seals of the Seacrest gang haul out to rest.  Images of Dusty below:

video
 
 
Dusty

Dusty

Dusty

Dusty

Dusty

 
 
H. Seal Gang at Seacrest


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