. . .A bird walk around Gooseberry today didn’t yield many birds, but we did see some seals and that’s a first for me, though others have reported them from time to time.
Here’s a blow up of a similar picture of this same seal.
It was near low tide and one seal had climbed up on a rock at the south end of the island. As I took his/her picture, a second climbed up on a nearby rock. And when I got home and looked at the photos it looks to me like the first seal is looking at what might be a third in the water – it was definitely not another rock because it doesn’t show in the other photos.
So what are they?
Seals, of course! But what type? Boy, I don’t know, but my best guess is they are either Grey Seals or Harbor Seals as that’s what’s usually seen in this region. Don – the biologist – said he thought they were Harbor Seals. I thought they were Grey Seals because they appeared so large. Having checked this Web site, I now think Don was right – they’re Harbor Seals? Why? They don’t seem that large now that I look at the pictures, there are just two or three of them (grey seals, I understand, tend to be in larger groups – ask the folks in Chatham!) , and finally their snouts don’t seem so long and the web site linked above makes point of the Grey Seal having a longer snout.
Local naturalist Paul Champlin makes a similar point. He writes:
Your seals are seal-faced (harbor) instead of dog-faced (gray). No concentration of gray on the head (so not fur).
That, to me, seems like about the most succinct guide I can imagine for telling three types of seals apart! Thanks Paul.
Oh – btw – please be careful if you go out to Gooseberry hoping to see a seal or two. Out at the south end a good deal of the upper beach is lined off to provide a secure nesting location for the endangered Piping Plovers. (Yep, they’re here now, I’m told, but we didn’t see any today.) Also, please keep a dog on a leash and out of this area, if you happen to be travelling with one. Thanks!