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AHH 24-Hr. News

IMAGE Nell Irvin Painter to Speak at Brookdale Dec. 4
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Nell Irvin Painter will speak at Brookdale Community College on Dec. 4 as part of the 2014-15 Visiting Artist Series.    Photo By Robbin Holland LINCROFT, NJ – Renowned historian and artist Nell Irvin Painter will give a free public... Read More...
IMAGE 29 Women Successfully Completed Shore Results’ Jeans Challenge and Lost 2 Jeans Sizes in 8 Weeks
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Atlantic Highlands, NJ – The Jeans Challenge competition, which was held by Shore Results fitness training studio, and is tailored for women, challenged participants to lose two jeans sizes in eight weeks. All twenty-nine women participating in... Read More...
IMAGE East Coast Storm to Snarl Thanksgiving 2014 Travel
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
AccuWeather reports a storm with rain and heavy snow will cause major disruptions and delays for Thanksgiving travel on the East Coast and in the Appalachians. Rain will initially spread northward along the Interstate-95 with snow and rain to... Read More...
Give Thanks for Designated Drivers
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Auto Club Advises to have a Plan before heading on Thanksgiving Eve Hamilton, NJ — Thanksgiving Eve or Black Wednesday, as it has come to be known, is the most popular drinking night of the year for college students and young professionals... Read More...
TV Show to Film at Bahrs Landing
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Public Invited to be a Part of the Studio Audience Highlands, NJ - Highlands Borough Arts Council (HBAC) and Bahrs Landing Restaurant are pleased to launch FilmNITE on the first Fridayof December (12/5).   FilmNITE is an... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE Review - Theory of Everything
by David Prown
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
I'm not a science guy.  I have no true understanding of the genius of uber-astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. But the reviews looked... Read More...
IMAGE Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Often Not Believed
by Daniel J. Vance
Saturday, 22 November 2014
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also called Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, had Carl Miller of Georgetown, Ohio, and his doctors,... Read More...
IMAGE Imparted Concepts
by George Hancock-Stefan
Friday, 21 November 2014
I heard on the news that a baseball player, Giancarlo Stanton, received the highest salary that has ever been paid ($325 million over 13... Read More...
IMAGE Review - Interstellar
by David Prown
Friday, 21 November 2014
I was definitely not jonesing to see "Interstellar" as I'm not really a big special effects guy however I've always liked space movies. My son saw it... Read More...
IMAGE Take It From Snoopy
by Anne Mikolay
Thursday, 20 November 2014
Recently, I cleaned out a trunk full of ancient artifacts from my high school days and came across a little book titled “Happiness is a warm... Read More...

Upcoming Events

Thu Nov 27 @ 9:00AM - 11:00AM
Middletown Mayor Open Office Hours
Thu Nov 27 @ 3:15PM - 03:45PM
School Age Programs Grades K and up
Thu Nov 27 @ 4:00PM - 04:30PM
Preschool Story Time Ages 3 – 5
Fri Nov 28 @10:00AM -
Trail Hike and Farmhouse Tour
Mon Dec 01 @11:30AM - 05:00PM
Monday Mix Goes to the Culinary Education Center

joe_reynoldsIt was Christmas Eve along Sandy Hook Bay, a piece of the much larger Lower New York Bay and located downstream from the hustle and bustle of lower Manhattan. The windswept shore was empty of people. Indeed, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse, or for that matter even a gull.

It was chilly, windy day. Gusts up to 25 mph brought a shuddering chill to my exposed face. Nonetheless, the weather was sunny, bright and beautiful. A textbook day to search the edge of a winter beach for marine mammals. 

The tide was ebbing. I was optimistic at spotting a few Harbor Seals. Usually, the first seals of the winter will show up around Christmas Eve in Sandy Hook Bay. They arrive  long distances from either Long Island Sound or Nantucket Sound following schools of fish.

Nothing at first. Scanning the shore, though, I noticed a small sandbar or sandbank. It  was starting to form in the middle of the bay (about 150 yards from where I was standing).

Sure enough, out on this insignificant little sandbar, a number of seals were starting to appear. Here was my first sight of the winter population of Sandy Hook Bay Harbor Seals. They will call this place home for the next three months or so. Some years, as many as 140 seals haul out on sandbars and beaches inside the bay.

sh_seals_1

As the tide continued to fall, more of the sandbar became exposed above the surface of the water and an influx of seals hauled themselves up onto the bare wet sand. By dead low tide, there were at least 30 Harbor Seals spotted.

From what I could see through my binoculars, the seals looked healthy, good sized, and their skin was shiny, like a seal you might see at an aquarium. Except these seals were wild and free - the best way to see any animal!

 sh_seals_2

Many of the older seals were lying in the center resting and digesting their latest meal, while younger, immature  seals located on the edge of the sandbar were more active. They would slip into the water for a minute or two before hauling out to take a break, then slide back into the water.

Sandy Hook Bay seems to be a favorite winter place for many seals to rest, relax, and enjoy. The site seems perfect for their needs. The bay is protected from large ocean waves, there are sandbars and remote beaches to rest during the daytime, and it sits adjacent to a deepwater sea channel that leads to traveling fish.

Throughout the winter in Lower New York Bay, the seals can forage for winter flounder, blackfish, eels and sliver hake. These fish can be found in the coldest months and are plentiful when many other species of fish are not.

All looked good on this Christmas Eve. I was enjoying the pleasure of seeing seals in the bay. Then  out of nowhere  a rude kayaker arrived. He approached to close to the sandbar and scared all the wary seals away. What a jerk. Bah humbug!

sh_seals_3

Kayakers need to be especially careful when paddling in the water with seals because the boats have the same profile as a shark and can stress an entire group of seals. Boaters and kayakers need to observe a safe minimum distance of fifty yards (or 150 feet) away from seals.

Beach walkers, especially a person walking a pet, need to take care NOT to make their presence known — either visually or audibly — when you come across an individual or a group of seals. Seals may flee into the water immediately when they hear or sight a human. This flight disrupts their habits and may endanger their health.

Please maintain a minimum distance of 150 feet from any marine mammal in the water or on the shore to prevent a disturbance. View them from a distance. It is illegal to harass, kill, or possess any marine mammal (dead or alive) in the US. Seals can also give a serious, bacteria-laden bite, despite those big, sad, "come hither" eyes.

If you think a seal is in distress, do not touch or approach it. Contact the police or a park ranger and give the seals exact location and a description of the animal. You may also contact directly the Marine MammalStranding Center in NJ at (609) 266-0538 or the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation in New York City at (631)369.9829

For more information, pictures and year-round sightings of wildlife in or near Sandy Hook Bay, please check out my blog entitled, Nature on the Edge of New York City at http://natureontheedgenyc.blogspot.com/