Long Island Sound is rich in wildlife. As you paddle around the Islands of Norwalk keep your eyes peeled for harbor seals. A favorite hang out for harbor seals is on the southwest corner of Sheffield Island. Look for the seals sunning themselves on the rocks at low tide in the fall and winter months. Recent studies suggest that kayak and canoe approaches disturb the seals that may sense predatory danger from them so please maintain a safe distance (50 yards) from the seals. The Marine Mammal Protection Act protects these mammals from harassment and sets limits as to how close observers can approach.
A visit to Norwalk's Maritime Aquarium will help you understand the environment and ecology of Long Island Sound. This nationally recognized aquarium puts you nose-to-nose with sharks, within inches of seals, river otters, sea turtles, jellyfish and more than 1,000 other marine animals. It boasts of many interactive displays that include touch tanks with crabs, sea stars and more.
The Aquarium also offers boat trips year round with the Aquarium's marine science educators that are on hand to explain the ecological importance of Long Island Sound. The Maritime Aquarium is open daily, 10-5, except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. During the months of July and August, they are open until 6 p.m. For more information visit www.maritimeaquarium.org.
Many of the islands around Norwalk provide important resting, feeding, and nesting habitats for many species of wading birds, shorebirds, songbirds and terns. Though many islands are small, their importance to wildlife, especially migratory birds, is enormous. Native wildlife populations have diverse habitat requirements. The islands along Connecticut's coast fill these needs by providing habitats that are forested, marshy, sandy and secluded.