Report Details

During a negative evening low tide looking for evidence of tar balls (none found), I observed a sleepy Pacific Harbor Seal pup resting in the swash zone at 8:35 p.m. According to the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network, spring is seal pupping season, and adult female seals leave their young on the beach to rest, while they go fishing in the ocean. Just as the evening light was receding before the fast approaching sunset at 8:52 p.m, I saw this seal pup, which has the stump of its umbilical cord still attached, therefore it is likely between three to six days old. I observed the pup's behavior: yawning, turning over, stretching, and opening/closing its eyes. I did see the pup's tracks in the sand, which, according to NOAA, may suggest the nearby or recent presence of its mother. This pup was healthy and well, waiting for its mother to come back, typically at night, to nurse. It is important to remember that seals are semi-aquatic marine mammals, and regularly spend time on land, hauled out on rocks, reefs, or beaches. According to NOAA, there are many reasons why harbor seals haul out, including thermoregulatory behavior, molting, giving birth, nursing their pups, and social interactions with other seals. It is imperative that beach visitors respect this federally protected marine mammal, otherwise, the seal pup could risk abandonment by its mother or even death. Seal mothers will not approach their baby on the beach if there are humans or dogs nearby. Touching, moving, feeding, or harassing a seal pup is illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. An educational sign was in the sand near the driving zone of the beach explaining the importance of keeping your distance. I hope that we can all appreciate and respect the wonders of mother nature, including these incredible marine mammals, while cultivating an attitude of stewardship and conservation awareness. My photographs below were cropped and taken a far distance away with a super zoom camera from within a vehicle during my survey of this mile.

Conditions

Temperature: 50 F. Cloud Cover: Cloudy. Wind Velocity: Calm/Light. Tide Level: -2.4 feet.

Concerns

Apparent violations: Close tire tracks in the sand near a resting Pacific Harbor Seal pup, suggesting vehicle traffic closer than the 150 feet (four bus lengths) recommended by NOAA. In the United States, seals are federally protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972. Signage posted in the sand near the seal pup's location clearly explained these guidelines..

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All Mile 328 Reports

Showing 8 of 19 reports

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Mile 328

Sunset Beach, Clatsop Plains

May 24, 2024

During a negative evening low tide looking for evidence of tar balls (none found), I observed a sleepy Pacific Harbor Seal pup resting in the swash zone at 8:35 p.

sultanym

Mile 328

Sunset Beach, Clatsop Plains

April 12, 2024

An evening walk at lower tide on mile 328 with sunny skies and moderate wind from the west.

sultanym

Mile 328

Sunset Beach, Clatsop Plains

April 26, 2020

Beautiful calm sunny day on the beach.

tsunami

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Mile 328

Sunset Beach, Clatsop Plains

July 30, 2015

A beautiful, warm, sunny morning.

Jann Luesse

decorative elemnt for a coastwatch report.

Mile 328

Sunset Beach, Clatsop Plains

June 30, 2014

A beautiful sunny day with a bit of wind.

Jann Luesse

decorative elemnt for a coastwatch report.

Mile 328

Sunset Beach, Clatsop Plains

September 13, 2012

Hundreds of birds were swarming along the surf line, from pelicans to small shorebirds.

Jann Luesse

decorative elemnt for a coastwatch report.

Mile 328

Sunset Beach, Clatsop Plains

February 3, 2012

Another beautiful, sunny, calm day at the beach.

Jann Luesse

decorative elemnt for a coastwatch report.

Mile 328

Sunset Beach, Clatsop Plains

December 29, 2010

Lots of blowing sand in the high winds.

Jann Luesse