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Family Reunion 2: Seal selection

I was expecting to see seals, but I was not prepared for the huge herd we saw as we crossed the dunes. At first I thought they were rocks, or strange black buoys, or something.

Don kept saying, "'They're so large." And as one raised its head high out of the water: "Oh look, it looks like a horse."

I should have listened.

Someone else asked me what they were. I said "Harbor Seals" because that's the only seal I had seen along our coast, and I thought it was the only kind you found here. But the times, they are a changing and I was wrong. (My apologies to those I misled.) Look at the drawings below and see what you think. I did when I got home and I think we were treated to something that until fairly recently was considered very rare in this region.

( click for larger image )

Here are some other relevant things I learned:

Harbor seals: 5-6-feet long, 150-200 pounds, round heads. People often bark at them because they look like dogs.

Grey seals: 7-8 feet long, males 400 pounds and lighter colored, females 700 pounds, elogated head - Roman nose. No barking by tourists because they look like horses! (At least the heads do.) But the seals, when beached, apparently hum! (I'm not kidding.)

"When a storm broke through Chathamís barrier beach, the water temperature remained cold year-round. As a result, more Grey seals are spotted throughout the year." (I forgot where I read that, but I think we can all testify to the water temperature.)

We were seeing grey (or if you like, gray) seals. The curious thing is, judging from the color and size, they seemed to be mostly females. But I'm not going to venture a guess there. Check the web, check your books - and stay tuned for more photos.

Go here for more. Oh, and I got the drawings here and added one of my photos.

Posted by Greg Stone at July 18, 2004 05:31 AM
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