Seals of South Nags Head

It proved to be a busy day filled with both fantastic discoveries and hearts filled with sadness. With the first call that came into my cell phone today was the voice of one of the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission biologists with news of a potentially dead seal. Considering I was in the area, she was hoping that I might go down and investigate the report and if found to be true, transport the dead seal to a freezer at the National Seashore for further examination.

Upon locating the seal, the worst was confirmed as it was indeed dead. As I knelt over the harbor seal pup to examine its condition and figure out how I wanted to get back to my truck, I realized that I was only about a half mile from where I had photographed the last seal that I put in this journal. Considering these seal pups swim hundreds of miles down the coastline to our beaches, the likelihood that this would be the same seal is pretty slim. Yet the heavy thought still managed to weigh me down.

In route to the freezer however, my phone rang again with news of a live seal just a couple miles north of my destination. Since I would be driving right past it I headed out to the beach again in search of the next seal. Let me just say, this was one fat seal pup. No question about it, his fat reserves were holding good. Upon spotting the seal my mind was torn in two directions – photography and biology. With a quick assessment of the seal I noted that it was active and responsive with regular posturing that we expect to see in healthy seals. With that said however, there were also signs that is prompting me to return to the beach in the morning to check on it again to make sure that its condition does not turn over night. Therefore hopefully more to come on this guy tomorrow.

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