As New York returns, so has some unusual wildlife. This morning, Jim Lahey spotted a seal swimming off Pier 84 in the Hudson River.

In December last year from the same pier, a humpback whale was sighted weaving in amongst the NY Waterway ferries.

Seals can sometimes be seen further upstate on the Hudson — and back in 2019, one made its summer home further up Manhattan at Inwood.

When that seal was spotted, George Jackman, an ecologist with Riverkeeper, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving New York’s waters told Livescience. “It’s not that uncommon anymore. Seals are quite common in Staten Island [NYC’s southernmost borough]. They’re in the Rockaways [a peninsula in Queens abutting the Atlantic Ocean]. I’ve seen them in Pelham Bay [part of the East Bronx]. They’re in the sounds. I’ve seen images of them on floating docks in the Hudson.”

In April, the Hudson River Park Trust reported that they’d spotted their first seahorse of the season at Pier 40 (they usually find around 10-15 each year). “Seeing our first seahorse of the season is a sign that the River is starting to wake up after winter, with water temperature starting to get into the low 50s,” the park’s senior director of education and outreach, Tina Walsh, told Gothamist. “And in fact, since this first sighting, the team collected a second seahorse this past week on Wednesday!”

The first seahorse of 2021 collected at Pier 40. Photo Courtesy of Hudson River Park.

Jim, the owner of Sullivan Street Bakery in Hell’s Kitchen, thinks that not having the cruise ships on the river is a factor in the sighting of these creatures. “I do not miss the cruise ships,” he said. “I hope they never return, because now you can see that the sea lion has come back. Or is it a harbor seal?”

You can check on the maritime mammals around New York’s shores at this useful page on the Department of Environmental Conservation site.

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