One Seal

A keen-eyed park visitor told me that he and his little daughter saw TWO harbor seals on their walk, one in the North Basin and another up off the north shore of the park. I missed that second one and saw only this individual in the North Basin. It didn’t look like this one has missed a lot of meals. I saw it surface several times, then dive and disappear, only to reappear a hundred yards away and vanish again before I could get the camera framed and focused. But I did manage to capture these few seconds of video.

As regular readers know, harbor seals and sea lions look much alike when submerged. Both have been seen in these waters. If you can get a clear look at the head, it’s easy to identify them. The harbor seal has ear holes, no flaps. The sea lion has little ear flaps.

I wondered that several birds on the water not far away — a Clark’s Grebe, for example — seemed to ignore the seal. It would have been an easy meal for the big mammal to come up underneath the bird and snap it up. Evidently the birds can tell whether a seal is hungry enough to get a mouthful of feathers, or is content to go after its usual finny fare.

Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)

About harbor seals in Wikipedia. Previous sightings here in the park.

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