The weather outside may be frightful but the view from the Osprey Room Observatory at the Lloyd Center for the Environment is delightful! This month, come and visit the top floor of the museum in search of the three types of seals we have in our area – the Gray, Harp and the Harbor seal.
Seals have been spotted along the rock outcrops of Mishaum Point to as far in as the salt marshes of Little River. As the latter is peculiar, it is common to see the seals basking themselves on the rocks in the afternoon sun. The seals would be resting, warming themselves, or hunting from the rocks. They go after the schools of fish, crustaceans and mollusks that inhabit the area.
Seals are part of the mammal family; they are vertebrates, they have fur, they are born alive, and are fed milk as a baby. You can see the skeletal structure of a harbor seal on the main floor of the museum and compare their similar bones to our skeletal system.
The three types of seals that live along the Atlantic seashore are:
the Harbor seal, which can grow to 5 feet long, are yellowish gray with spots and whitish rings, are silvery when dry and have a dog-like snout.
They are fairly active and playful.
The Gray seal grows up to 8 feet and has a blackish slate color. Their face closely resembles a horse.
They are socially active as well, as they may be seen bobbing, playing or vocalizing in groups.
The Harp seal, which can be up to 5 ½ feet, has creamy white skin and brown spots on its face and body.
They tend to be in large groups during breeding season and are considered to be quite vocal.
Use the telescopes that are in the Osprey Observatory, or bring your own pair of binoculars, to see the winter waterfowl and these huge mammals amidst our winter wonderland. Enjoy the wintry landscape of the Slocum’s.
The Harp Seal picture from Jon B. Hlidberg, Painting © 2003.