Hearing loud splashes in the deeper waters of the marsh is not unusual. Fish are frequently active at the water’s surface and birds such as cormorants and ospreys will often dive under in search of food. But this morning’s splash was much louder than usual and the surrounding ripples revealed that the diver was indeed quite large.
For several minutes, my eyes darted across the grey water, looking to see what would surface. Once the creature emerged, I was not disappointed. It was a harbor seal.
This is the first time I’ve seen a seal in the salt marsh. Apparently it’s not uncommon for harbor seals to follow fish inland during high tide. They’ll also feed on clams and crabs which are plentiful in the marsh.
The winter before last I managed to see a seal on the iced inlet behind Rainbow Haven Beach. It was the first time I’d seen a live seal.
Whether in the water or on the shore, harbor seals blend in very well with their surroundings. I almost tripped on a dead one at Martinique Beach a couple of summers ago. It was perfectly camouflaged among the rocks. I wonder how many live ones have watched me over the years as I’ve walked along the shore, absorbed in thought. Wildlife is all around us, whether or not we have the eyes to see.