Posted tagged ‘Manhattan dolphin’

Watching NYC’s East River Dolphin

March 13, 2013

I spent a few hours this afternoon watching a dolphin in the East River off Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Dolphin in NYC's East River. Photo: Melissa Cooper

Dolphin in NYC’s East River. Photo: Melissa Cooper

“I’m sorry, could you repeat that? Did you say, a dolphin in the East River?”

Dolphin in East River. Photo: Melissa Cooper

Dolphin in East River. Photo: Melissa Cooper

That’s right. As of two hours ago, a dolphin was swimming in the East River. I first heard about the dolphin this morning, when a reader wrote in to report spotting it near 96th Street. (Thank you, Samantha!) It seems to have spent most of the day swimming in the same general area off the East River Drive.

During the time I watched, it stayed on the west side of Mill Rock, a small uninhabited island.

Dolphin at northern end of Mill Rock. Photo: Melissa Cooper

Dolphin at northern end of Mill Rock. Photo: Melissa Cooper

It stayed south of the 103rd Street pedestrian bridge to Randall’s Island.

Pedestrian Bridge to Randall's Island at 103rd Street and the East River.

Pedestrian Bridge to Randall’s Island at 103rd Street and the East River.

It stayed north of the sanitation station.

Dolphin near 96th Street.

Dolphin near 96th Street.

It stayed east of the Triborough, er, I mean, the RFK Bridge.

Dolphin in front of RFK Bridge. Photo: Melissa Cooper

Dolphin in front of RFK Bridge. Photo: Melissa Cooper

The Riverhead Foundation believes the animal to be a bottlenose dolphin. The Foundation is gathering information about the dolphin, but is not immediately alarmed. According to their Facebook page, four other cetaceans have been reported in the East River since 2010, and all four were able to find their back out without intervention. Let’s hope this creature, too, follows the turn of the tide back out into the harbor.

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Check back soon for more on the New York dolphin and on New Yorkers watching the New York dolphin. And meanwhile, keep me posted on your urban wildlife sightings!

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For more on NYC’s cetaceans:

Dolphin Spotted in East River
Hudson River Dolphin
Whales in NYC
Hudson River Dolphin is Dead

Hudson River Dolphin

June 20, 2012

A dolphin was spotted on Sunday afternoon (June 17th) in the Hudson River.

Photo from DNAInfo.com (click to go to article)

Lucky people out for a Sunday stroll saw the animal heading south from Harlem to Chelsea, with sightings reported from 120th Street to 14th Street.  According to DNAInfo.com, which has been a terrific source for wildlife sightings in the city, a woman reported seeing the animal (probably a bottlenose dolphin) swim in circles for about half an hour near the pier at 14th Street.

Dolphins have been seen on other occasions in both the Hudson and the East River. The lower Hudson is, after all, a saltwater estuary, a body of water where salt water and fresh waters mix daily with the tides.

Waterways of New York City by Julius Schorzman; Wikimedia Commons

In addition to the whales of New York Harbor, marine mammals that have occasionally made their way into the lower Hudson include harbor seals, gray seals, a harp seal near Haverstraw, and, I kid you not, a 1000-pound manatee.

Still while the sight of a dolphin is not all that rare, the sight of a bottlenose dolphin swimming solo is apparently quite unusual.  Fortunately, the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, which I first encountered after finding an adorable gray seal pup on Flying Point Beach on Long Island’s south fork, is on the job.

If you are lucky enough to spot the dolphin, please call  the Riverhead Foundation right away at (631) 369-9829 to report the time, location and behavior of the animal.  Assuming the dolphin is still around, the marine wildlife experts of the Riverhead Foundation will try to ascertain whether it is healthy or in need of assistance.  Should the animal show signs of distress, the Foundation is well equipped to care for it with the goal of releasing it back into the wild.

As always, knowledgeable wildlife experts urge people to leave the animal alone, and NOT FEED IT, advice which seems to be surprisingly difficult for our species to heed.

Oh, and once you’ve contacted the Riverside Foundation, don’t forget to contact me!  I’m guessing the dolphin has returned to the harbor, since I haven’t heard of any sightings since Sunday. But I’d love to know more about the NYC dolphin – or any other interesting wildlife encounters you may have.  You can always reach me by leaving a comment on Out Walking the Dog or you can email me at outwalkingthedognyc@gmail.com.

And remember: keep your eyes peeled as you walk the city. You never know what you might see out there.

6/21: Sad Update on the Hudson River Dolphin:
The dolphin was found dead this morning near Pier 59 in Chelsea.


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