Subject: Re: (no subject)

Greg Early (
Fri, 05 Nov 1999 14:50:35 -0500


Actually that group was one of the first (and only) closely studied groups
of seals in the area, so we know a bit about them.  The Manomet Bird
Observatory (then named) did a study of the seals on Manomet point and
Stage Point in the late 70's.  At that time there was a regular haul out of
fifty to one hundred seals on the rocks, with the highest counts in the
months of March and April.  A recent aerial survey, done in 1993 and 1994
reported two to three hundred seals in the same location in April.  You are
right, that around now is when the numbers should be going up.

One reason your counts may vary (and one of the reasons that harbor seals
are not all that easy to count) is that there are a lot of factors that
effect how many seals will haul out on a given ledge at a given time.
Generally the best time to see them is when a low tide is around noon, it
is sunny, warm and there is little wind.  Generally , under those
conditions the most seals will be hauled out.  Bad weather, probably not
many seals.  Disturbance, probably not too many seals.  There may also be
season to season differences in what seals are where (so it would appear
that all of a sudden, in one area the seals would seem to vanish, or there
numbers seem to skyrocket). Again, this is an aspect of seal life that we
really do not know much about.



 At 09:37 AM 11/05/99 EST, you wrote:
>Dear  Mr.Early,
>I live in the Plymouth area and the last few years noticed a tremendous 
>increase in the number of harbor seals that sun themselves on the rocks at 
>Manomet Point in Plymouth.  Last year,there were days that I counted well 
>over 100 seals at this location.  I went up there last
>they had not come back yet.  I returned there yesterday(11/3) and was very 
>excited to see that they had finally shown up.  They seem to stay in the
>until March or April.  Do you have any information on this particular group 
>of seals?  I find it so exciting to see them and go up there many times a 
>week just to observe them.  There were probably between 20 and 30 there 
>yesterday and from my past observations,the number will surely increase as 
>the season goes on. 
>Thank you very much for any information that you can give me on this 
>wonderful group of seals! I'm sure I will go up there today at low tide to 
>see how many more of these beautiful seals  I can see.
>Thanks again
>Jean O'Connor
Greg Early
Edgerton Research Laboratory				
New England Aquarium
Central Wharf
Boston, Mass 02110
617-973-5246 (phone)
617-723-6207 (FAX)