You never know what you might find when you go fishing. This is especially true in the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean and in the Hudson Canyon. The canyon area where most people go to fish is located about 100 miles east of the Jersey Shore.
Though rarely seen or understood by most people, the Hudson Canyon is actually a submerged canyon that was once exposed during the last Ice Age, over 10,000 years ago, when sea levels were about 400 feet lower that present day, and the mouth of the Hudson River was near the edge of the continental shelf. The Hudson Canyon is an extension of the Hudson River Valley. The canyon runs from the New York- New Jersey Harbor up to 400 nautical miles out to sea, at places reaching depths of over 10,000 feet.
If one could see the Hudson Canyon today it would surely be an impressive sight. The rocky walls of the canyon rise nearly a mile from the bottom making it similar to the famous Grand Canyon. The Hudson Canyon is the largest known ocean canyon off the East Coast of the United States, and one of the largest submarine canyons in the world.
Until just recently, undersea studies by scientists have increased our appreciation for the Hudson Canyon. For good reason, this area contains an amazing diversity of deep-sea life, including various species of deep sea coral and sponges, and an important over-wintering area for a great number of fish, including summer flounder and black sea bass.
Who knows what lurks or what might be found under the deep sea near New York Harbor. Maybe an unusual bigscale pomfret fish?
Image from http://www.turtlejournal.com/?p=8357
Although it’s common for a few sea turtles every autumn to wash ashore local beaches weak and sick from being cold-stunned (when a sea turtle becomes hypothermic as water temperatures drop), the season for this this event to conclude usually occurs around Christmas. Now with winter ‘s arrival late this season, wayward hungry sea turtles have become hypothermic in January. The poor things have washed ashore immobilized and lifeless.
Sea turtles are reptiles and cold-blooded animals, which mean they cannot regulate their body temperature or make their own body heat even when it’s cold outside. Cold-blooded animals take on the temperature of their surroundings. When water temperatures reach near 50 degrees sea turtles become cold-stunned. Their blood circulation and other body functions slow down, and they are unable to swim or move. If not found soon and rescued, there is a high probability of death.
What many people don’t realize is that different sea turtle species call New York Harbor and nearby coastal waters home during the summer and early fall. The turtles often swim here to feed on fish, shellfish, algae, and jellies. Come October, many will swim south, but a few may become stranded and unable to swim as colder weather arrives and water temperatures cool down.
If you see a sea turtle that appears sick or injured, in New Jersey call the Marine Mammal Stranding Center at 609-266-0538. In New York, call the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation at 631-369-9829. These two organizations have the authority to help stranded or sick marine mammals and sea turtles. Wildlife experts with the help of trained volunteers will determine if an animal is in need of medical attention, needs to be moved from a populated area, or just needs time to rest.
Image from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelican
Latest posts from NY Birding News declare an American White Pelican (maybe two or three) can be seen at Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Queens, from the bird blind at Big John's Pond,
At first you might not think there are many connections between what takes place thousands of miles away in the Arctic and what takes place in New York Harbor. In fact, the connections are countless.
Many of the migrating shorebirds we see at local beaches, including at Sandy Hook, Breezy Point, Conaskonk Point, and Jamaica Bay, in the springtime are travelling thousands of miles from the tropics to breed and raise a family in the Arctic. Some of the seals we see in the winter, including Harp seals, breed and raise young on Arctic ice. Much of the waterfowl we observe in the wintertime in New York Harbor, including Eiders, Long-tailed Ducks, scoters, and Snow Geese, spend summers in the Arctic to nest. Snowy owls as well will arrive from the Arctic to areas around New York Harbor to spend the winter from time to time. These are just some of the plentiful examples between the New York Harbor and Arctic biodiversity connection.
The start of winter was a real record breaker. December was the warmest on record in the New York metropolitan region. According to the National Weather Service, it was the first December ever where the temperature never fell below 32 degrees in the city. November was also the warmest on record. That's the first time ever consecutive months have broken heat records, said the weather service.
January is something different. Old Man Winter finally arrived to New York Harbor during the first week of January.
Low temperatures for many places around the harbor this morning were in the teens. The official low temperature in Central Park was 11 degrees at 6:00 am. Where I live near Sandy Hook Bay, downstream from New York City, my backyard thermometer was reading a relatively balmy 17 degrees at 7:00 am. Gusts of icy winds were also blowing out of the north, gusting over 20 mph. It didn’t get much better later in the day. Sunny skies only had enough strength to rise to the upper 20s. This was the real deal, the first big chill of the winter season.
One by one, since around Thanksgiving, I have been watching Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) return to Sandy Hook Bay for the winter. First I would see some sleek and shiny heads with whiskers and large black eyes bobbing in and out the water, like some smooth faced dogs of the sea. Then I would spot a few seals hauled out on a remote beach during low tide to rest, relax, and catch some rays of the sun.
Now, during the first weekend of January, I observed around 60 seals. There were males, juveniles, and pregnant females. Adult males are larger than adult females.
Many were resting or having a good sunbath on a remote island near the edge of the bay while a few others, mostly youngsters, were swimming, splashing, and keeping a watchful eye out for possible intruders, such as reckless people who regularly try to get too close to take a picture.
Image from https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raccoon
It’s not everyday that the New York Times devotes so many words to wildlife (see below), which dwell in the metropolitan region. When they do, it’s notable. Raccoons, just like coyotes, skunks, and beavers, are starting to return to the city and reclaim their home. The problem is people (who are mostly urban dwellers today) really don’t know how to respond or relate to seeing a wild animal. Our first reaction is to dominate and destroy. How can anyone read this and think removing wildlife works?? Maybe we should teach children in school better ways to treat and live with wildlife, and how to make our homes more animal friendly. Certainly everyone needs to do a better job of living with a variety of plants and animals. Every species has value on Planet Earth.
Photo from https://commons.wikimedia.org
And the winner is….the blue jay! It’s the first bird, or animal for that matter, I saw in 2016.
I spotted this colorful and common city bird at my birdfeeder early this morning. No surprises here. It was picking out a morning meal from the fatty suet with its strong bill, as they usually do.
Jays are quick to take advantage of bird feeders as they quickly glide through trees in search of winter food. Blue jays are omnivores, they will feed on just about anything. Their usual winter diet consists of acorns, beechnuts, seeds and berries, along with an occasional small mouse or an unlucky hibernating grasshopper, caterpillar, or small frog.
STOP THE WILLIAMS FRACKED GAS PIPELINE THROUGH NY HARBOR!
MY TOP 5 FAVORITE BOOKS ABOUT NY HARBOR
1. Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City by Leslie Day
2.Heartbeats in the Muck by John Waldman
3. The Fisheries of Raritan Bay by Clyde L. MacKenzie Jr.
4. Waterfront: A Walk Around Manhattan by Phillip Lopate
5. The Bottom of the Harbor by Joseph Mitchell