Harbor Seal at GBB


Yesterday I got an amazing treat while out on a shorebird winter survey at GBB, I got to observe a Harbor Seal on the sod banks facing Shooting Thorofare/ Little Egg Inlet. I observed the seal (with 2 other people, thanks for the heads up!) from approx. 3:30pm til 4:45pm. The seal was approx. 3 ft from nose to hind flippers and probably 60 lbs. The seal stayed basically on her left side the entire time we observed & her left foreflipper was tucked under her trunk the entire time as well. The seal raised her right foreflipper many times as well as the hind flippers. The seal wasn't vocal and didn't seem to mind us observing. She would turn her head to either side to look at us. The seal never moved from the spot it was laying in but would turn to each side. The seal also yawned if you will. The 3 of us were worried that the seal might be injured so we reported it to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine. They had me email them photos & included our observations.

I went back late this morning and there was no seal to be seen so hopefully the little seal was just resting and went on her way when ready!

I gratefully received an email reply from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, here is the info they sent:

The seal is yearling Harbor Seal that was born this past summer.  It is difficult to be absolutely sure from the photos, but it does appear to be a female.  She looks plump and healthy and seems to be doing well.  It is not uncommon to see seals in that area; they frequent Great Bay during the winter months for the excellent fishing opportunities and quiet resting places.  We typically get seals in NJ from mid October through the end of April.  Please continue to report any sightings to us ASAP, as not all of them are healthy and may be in need of treatment.  Also, getting any photos to us as soon as possible, will help us assess the animals health to determine if it is in need of treatment.  For anyone who frequents the beaches and bays and may happen upon any stranded marine mammals or sea turtles please contact MMSC at mmsc@verizon.net and visit their website at


For a Flashslide show of some of the photos I took click the link below...