The first visit for a seal to the Outer Banks for this season was made by a Harp seal who decided to haul out of the ocean in Nags Head for a bit of rest and relaxation on the beach.

The Harp seal finds a comfortable spot on the beach to rest and relax.

Under the direction of Marissa Bijarro of the NC Wildlife Resource Commission, Marine Mammal Stranding Network (MMSN) volunteers were dispatched to the site to make a health assessment and help control any disturbance.

A Harp seal giving all high fives for an enjoyable beach experience

A Harp seal giving all high fives for an enjoyable beach experience

It is not unusual for seals to “haul out” from the ocean and can indicate distress, but more than likely it is just for a bit of down time to rest. A common misconception is that something should be done to get the seal back into the water, but the best approach is not to approach the seal. Because any disturbance keeps them from the rest they are seeking, MMSN volunteers place signs away from the seal asking people to enjoy their view at a distance.

Signs placed at a distance to advise beach users of R&R time for the Harp.

Signs placed at a distance to advise beach users of R&R time for the Harp.

Harpo is quite the character and provided quite a show to onlookers by providing an occasional high five, scratching and flippper flapping, but thankfully spent much of his time sleeping and getting rest.

The Harp is feeling it ... flippers a flipping and catching the rays.

The Harp is feeling it … flippers a flipping and catching the rays.

Harpo the Harp seal rested up for about 7 hours on the Nags Head, NC beach and headed back into the ocean when a storm provided a heavy downpour to the area.