Whales Seen in Unlikely Place on Oregon Coast; Baby Seals Arrive
(Seaside, Oregon) – Whales have been spotted in an unlikely place on the north Oregon coast, and adorable baby seals are popping up in great numbers, causing tourism officials to send out some alerts.
Tiffany Boothe, with the Seaside Aquarium, said she spotted whales visiting the cove area in Seaside – at the southern end of town, up against Tillamook Head. They’re not normally seen in the Seaside area, much less so close to shore, so this was noteworthy.
It appeared as if there were only two.
“Some bait fish have moved into the cove in Seaside, bringing with them birds, sea lions and even whales,” Boothe said. “How long will they be around? Anywhere from a few hours to a few days. So get your binoculars and head to the cove.”
Boothe said it wasn’t clear how long the whales had been lingering at the cove; she only spotted them on Tuesday. Some others told her on Facebook that they had seen some as well in that area.
Boothe hasn’t seen them since, but that doesn’t mean they won’t pop up again or that others won’t come, following whatever current full of baitfish brought them in the first place.
While it’s a sight that’s sure to cause a bit of a stir in Seaside, it’s not completely rare.
“It happens about once or twice a year,” Boothe said. “Mostly, if it happens, it happens about now or in late September.”
Boothe said those that have wandered into the cove were probably on their way up north towards Alaska and have stopped here for food.
“If they’re in the cove, they’re here for a snack,” Boothe said. “When they come in close to shore, that usually means they’ve ran into some food.”
Meanwhile, it’s the season of adorable baby seals again, as the Seaside Aquarium has had to deal with about a dozen in the last two weeks.
This is cause for a bit of alarm, say officials like the Seaside Aquarium, as some people get the wrong idea about these cute little critters and try to do things to help them – when the only thing they require is to be left alone.
The aquarium is part of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, which responds to such incidents on the north coast. In the case of baby seals, these are just resting on the beach while their mothers are nearby, in the water. Like any baby, they need to sleep a lot.
There have been strandings of seal pups at Rockaway, Gearhart, two in Seaside, and several others around the north coast.
It’s the aquarium’s job to go out and post signs to keep people away, and this year there seemed to be no resistance to that as in previous years.
“Everyone’s been very respectful, and they seemed to understand what we were doing,” Boothe said.
Two of the dozen were dead on the beach, Boothe said. These were likely already sick just before they hit shore, possibly even dying out in the sea. Boothe theorized it was possible something might have happened to the mother, as well.
“There was one baby fur seal out of all the Harbor seals,” Boothe said. “It was really cute. We only see those about once a year.”If you see a baby seal lounging on the beach, do not approach it. Call authorities.
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