Monday, August 7, 2017


The first Harbor Seal pup of the 2017 season rested on the beach at Lincoln Park on Sunday August 6th.  The pup "Beethoven" may have been recently weaned (weaning is 4-6 weeks after birth and pup in on its own after that).  Beethoven chose a very busy spot to rest...very close to the walking/biking bath along the shoreline.  Beethoven appears to be a little thin so hopefully will fatten up on bait fish in the area.  Pink Salmon are also around but Beethoven likely is not very good at catching that kind of meal....later.
Beethoven was spotted on the beach about 3:30pm and returned to the water around 8pm.  Please give all resting seals a wide berth..100 yards if possible as they require about 12 hours of rest per 24.  Loss of resting time for seal pups can greatly increase the chances that they will not survive the first year of life.
Seal Sitters monitors pups on the beach to ensure they have the best chance to rest.  If you see a seal on the beach in West Seattle please contact Seal Sitters at 206-905-SEAL. 

Beethoven's choppers

A very smoky day in Seattle

Smoke produces orange sun

Saturday, July 29, 2017


Life under the ferry dock is different than that on the open exposed beach.  The dock provides shade from the sun, protection from rain and cooler air temperature than on the open beach on hot summer days.  In addition there is somewhat different water circulation due to the ferry wake each time the ferry departs the dock.  These factors may be responsible for the differences we see in animal populations under the dock as opposed to those on the adjacent beach.
Some noticeable differences include:   Increased number of  Purple, and Leather sea stars, Geoduck clams, sea pens, and compound tunicates.  Sea Stars under the dock also are much larger than those seen on the beach....and likely have survived sea star wasting disease, although some have been infected.  

Under the Ferry Dock

Purple Stars and Tunicates




Leather Star

Mottled Anemone

Northern Kelp Crab with eggs

Barnacle encrusted Kelp Crab (female with eggs)

Sea Pen

Giant Pacific Barnacle (first observed in 2008)

Giant Pacific Barnacle

Tunicates and Kelp Crabs

Large Purple Star

Jointed Tube Worm with Hydroids 

Sea Lemon

Kelp Crab Purple Star and Tunicates

Giant Pacific Barnacle with Tube worms attached

Mottled Anemone

Chiton (Smooth Mopalia)

Smooth Mopalia

Lined Nudibranch


Sea Pen and Lined Nudibranch

Sunflower Star

Lion's Mane Jellyfish (damaged)




Pacific Gaper Clam

Tiny Moon Snail

Tiny Moon Snail

Sea Pen

Sea Anemone

Lined Nudibranch

Sunday, May 7, 2017


A female Harbor Seal pup...born in summer of 2016 and named Taffy by Seal Sitters staked out a spot on Alki beach for more than a month. The seal's health was not considered to be good and a capture was accomplished on the 5th try.  It turned out to be a good decision as Taffy is currently undergoing treatment at PAWS for various medical problems including an infestation of lung worm and multiple sores in the mouth.  On May 5th another pup named Sea Foam arrived at Duwamish Head beach and returned again on the 6th.  Sea Foam moved from one location to another twice of avoid the incoming tide.  This pup also does not appear to be in the best of health.  One problem facing Harbor Seals in our area in the high level of contamination in the fish they eat.  The health department recommends that humans eat no more that two meals a month of fish that are resident in Elliott Bay...Seattle's local marine waters.
These seals, sea lions, river otters, porpoises and various sea birds as well as some Orca whales that prey on the marine mammals have no choice....and end up with high levels on toxins in their systems.  When you consider that a harbor seal may be eating many meals a day of contaminated bottom fish it's no wonder we have pups coming ashore in poor health.
Some people question why various volunteer organizations like Seal Sitters spend all the time and energy assisting a few animals when the population is considered healthy...."let nature take its course".....problem is the nature that may be taking its course is one that has been heavily damaged by human careless disregard for the health of the environment...unhealthy marine life is often our can't always point a finger at Mother Nature....but perhaps point a finger at the person in the mirror. 



Sea Foam

Sea Foam

Sea Foam

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


It has been a busy Spring so far in Puget Sound.  Many visits by Transient Orca Whales, CA Sea Lions passing through on migration south to breeding grounds in CA and Baja. Shorebirds moving north with Loons and Grebes. A first ever recorded Herring spawning in West Seattle and a Harbor Seal pup that staked out a spot on busy Alki Beach Park for more than a month.  Juvenile Bald Eagles trying to figure out just how to get a meal...and not being very good at it.  Gray Whales and Humpback Whales roaming the Sound....and rain, rain, rain, rain....oh..did I mention rain.   Seattle has on day without rain since February 1st.
And rained today...and still is.

Herring eggs

Herring eggs


Black Turnstones

Common Loon with flounder

Harbor Seal "Taffy"

Horned Grebe

Western Red-backed Salamanders

Long-toed Salamander

Northern Alligator Lizard 


Buffelhead Duck

Mt. Baker from West Seattle