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Coney Island Marine Mammal Tour Yields Only Polar Bears

The New York City Parks Department’s first shot at a marine mammal tour from Coney Island yielded absolutely none of the hoped for seals, porpoises, dolphins or whales. But we were all shocked and delighted to see real Coney Island polar bears going into the water in bikinis on what turned out to be one of the coldest days of winter. their existence is well-documented on every cheesy local news, but I consider it a rarity to see one in person.

Our park ranger guides, Marissa and Andy, couldn’t have been more enthusiastic or knew more about what we might hope to see. They had us carefully watch a cluster of birds feeding on the surface to see if we saw any seal heads pop up. Andy told us about the loons and Brant Geese (Branta bernicla) wading by the polar bears. Marissa told us stories about dolphins she’s seen regularly patrolling east to west off the Rockaways. She told us about the time a seal hauled out on Coney Island and helpful New Yorkers dragged it back to sea–twice–before realizing it just wanted to sit on the sand.

 Wildlife watchers know there are no guarantees in this business. So several of us consoled ourselves with another Coney Island rarity: pizza. Maybe we’ll try one of the other tours to see seals around NYC.

Where to See Seals

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1 comment to Coney Island Marine Mammal Tour Yields Only Polar Bears

  • Raymond Ho, FCD

    Oh didn’t know that they were doing one. Do you know if they are doing it again in Coney Island?