From the journal, November 29th: "We are heading out on Long Island Sound today in search of seals that have migrated from the Gulf of Maine and Canada to spend the winter in the relatively warmer waters of Long Island Sound. Low tide is around 3:00, sun is shining and wind almost non existent. Seas should be calm and seals should be sun bathing on the rocks."
There are a number of popular seal haul-out sites off the coast of Greenwich, Stamford and Norwalk. This seal was on the back side of Chimon Island, part of the Norwalk Island chain. Numbers have steadily increased around the Sound, largely due to the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Current estimates put numbers of harbor seals in Long Island Sound at about 3000.
This lone seal was the largest on the reef. Males can be up to 6 feet long and weigh up to 300 pounds. All of the seals we saw this afternoon were harbor seals. There are four other species of seal that use Long Island Sound: harp, hooded, ringed, and grey.
We saw a total of 9 seals including six hauled out on this portion of Smiths Reef.
Harbor seals are not often seen on the islands or on the mainland. They typically stick to the rocks exposed during low tide. This young seal is on Shea Island, one of the Norwalk Islands. The stack seen in the background is part of the Norwalk Power plant.
"It was an absolutely beautiful afternoon out on the boat. We saw a total of 9 harbor seals, two American coots, mallards, black ducks and pintails. It got a little choppy as we went out so photography was difficult. A friend was out around the Norwalk Islands and counted 40 common loons."