Feb/06/12 05:37 AM
Yesterday afternoon, one of our volunteers noticed a large crowd of excited people assembled near the beach steps across from Starbucks on Alki. Immediately, she thought there must be a seal pup. And, sure enough, as she approached, she could see a small pup on the cement, but he was scared back into the water before she could get people to stand back. Thankfully, following a short dip in the Sound, the pup returned to the steps and, after our volunteers managed to set a perimeter with cones and “protected marine mammal” tape, settled in for a long winter’s nap in the sun. It was a gorgeous day to be out for a stroll along the beach and people were delighted to watch a young (probably 6-7 months old) weaned pup rest safely on shore. A few folks grumbled that part of the sidewalk was closed off, but there was plenty of room for access to continue walking or biking if you didn’t want to stop and enjoy this unique opportunity to observe a golden little pup right in our beach backyard.
Nicknamed Flipper by (almost) 9 year old Natasha who was walking along the beach with her dad, the pup slept and warmed up until almost dark. He returned to the Sound in search of dinner and our volunteers, windswept and shivering by this time, removed the perimeter and left satisfied, knowing that the pup got the rest he needed and that they had educated many people to the wondrous ways of seals and seal pups. The orcas also made an appearance yesterday in West Seattle and volunteers nervously wondered if it was a transient or resident pod. The transients feed on seals and sea lions, but the residents are fish eaters. So, we were all happy that Flipper chose to stay on the steps til the orcas were long gone!