Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mammalian visitor

a harp seal behind across the Back River behind our house
photo by Kevin Burns

This harp seal visited for a couple of days, lounging about on the ice shelf in the Back River behind our house.  We assumed the seal was sick - because it moved around little.  But a call - by our neighbor Kevin -to the Marine Mammals Hotline at the Maine Division of Marine Resources disabused us of that notion. (click on picture to enlarge)

The seal - an adolescent she estimated from the pictures - would probably stay about 48 hours and move on.  which it did - gone on the high tide in the morning.  Speculation about what brought his this far up river starts with food.  This is spring and there are smelts up the back river.  Smelts are small ocean fish which spawn in fresh water.  Spring is when they spawn and head down river.  The creek in Thomaston - a similar body of water to the Back River behind our house - is home to a dozen or more ice houses every winter.  smelt is the catch.