Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Guest Blogger: Joe Reynolds


Celebrate Winter Wildlife!  Sunday, Feb. 19


Even though the winter season has been mild, many people unfortunately still shun the beach this time of year. You shouldn't be one of these people. Get outside!

Winter is really a great time to bundle up and take a walk along the shore to see some magnificent coastal wildlife that can only be spotted during the winter, particularly seals. Each year, numerous seals, including Harbor Seals, migrate 500 miles or more starting in November from the cold waters of Maine and Canada to the Jersey Shore. They can be found in particular abundance within Sandy Hook Bay. 

These large marine mammals are not always in the water though. During the daytime seals will often haul out to rest and digest food on remote sandy beaches, exposed sandbars, rocks, piers, and jetties. The seals are wild animals. They are a sight to behold in the local environment, downstream from New York City and within the largest urban-suburban coastline in the world.

Though seals are common winter residents, they are not always easy to spot, either resting on land or bobbing their heads in the water. Seals are shy and sensitive wild animals, and will swim off if people get too close.

One of the best ways to see seals without stressing them out is on a naturalist-guided seal walk. On Sunday, February 19, 2012 Clean Ocean Action is hosting a guided seal walk at Sandy Hook with me as your leader. This is a great opportunity not only for adults but for children as well. It promises to be a fun event and a wonderful way to lean more about marine mammals.

We will meet up in the morning and walk to a remote area along the bay where seals haul out, sometimes in large numbers. This will provide everyone a chance for an excellent wildlife sighting, while at the same time staying far enough away to not disturb the seals resting onshore. 

Best of all, afterwards we will enjoy brunch and the sight of live penguins from Jenkinson's Aquarium at Waters Edge in nearby Sea Bright, NJ. For those who are lovers of seals (and really who isn't) and other coastal wildlife this event on Sunday, February 19, 2012 is for you. Sign up now before it sells out!

To register for the seal walk, please visit Clean Ocean Action's website at http://www.cleanoceanaction.org/

General Information about the Seal Walk: The walk will take approximately one and half hours and will be one mile round trip. The walk is suitable for children over 5 years of age. Please be prepared for the weather, i.e., wear warm clothing in layers (outerwear should be in muted colors). Hats, gloves, and warm waterproof shoes are recommended, as are cameras, binoculars, and spotting scope.   

Joe Reynolds

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