On a clear day, along the shores of a Middletown bay, rise and look around you. You can see … a seal.
That’s right, a brown Atlantic harbor seal, to be exact. One was spotted “lounging out on the far end of a wooden boat dock in the morning (last Tuesday) at the county marina in Port Monmouth, located along Pews Creek,” said the man who spotted what marine biologists call a Phoca vitulina, Joe Reynolds.
Known also as the common seal, they like to eat fish, and sometimes sea birds, and live to be about 25. Males can grow to a length of six feet and weigh as much as 300 pounds.
While they tend to frequent northern Atlantic waters, lately the seals have been found frolicking and feeding in New York Habor, according to Wikipedia.
The typically brown, tan or grey seals have no ears (only holes in the sides of their heads), signature V-shaped nostrils and tend to return to the same “hang out” spot.
In this case, the friendly looking fish hunter chose the Port Monmouth dock. So, as a creature of the familiar lounging habit, he (or she?) may just return.
“The scene of this marine mammal is a wonderful reminder of lower New York bay’s connection to the ocean,” Reynolds said in a mass email to friends of his sighting. “It (this one) was hauled out and resting, probably digesting a belly full of fish. What a sight to see right here, located in one of the most busy and bustling bays in the world.”
Reynolds said that the seal stuck around for most of the day on Tuesday of last week and disappeared with high tide by the next day, “in all likelihood foraging for fish again around the estuary.”
Reynolds captured the above photos of the new friend to Middletown’s shores. He hosts a blog on wildlife and nature sightings in and around lower NY, Sandy Hook and Raritan bays that you can visit at http://natureontheedgenyc.blogspot.com/.
In the meantime, in the hope that our new seal friend will visit again, Middletown Patch has decided to ask people for name suggestions. What do you think the Bayshore’s new mascot should be called? Give us your suggestions in the comment box below.