Make Every Week: Seal Watch

The buzz in our corner of Manhattan is all about the Inwood Seal.

Not only did the seal appear on a dock in Spuyten Duyvil Creek just off the Hudson River, but he came back. So naturally, we keep an eye out for the cute critter when we visit Inwood Hill Park.

But what about when we’re not there? How will we know if he’s returned?

Now, there’s a bot for that.

On our visit to the dock, it was clear that people are keeping watch for him. And I’m betting that once someone sees him, they’ll tweet about it.

So I set up a new Twitter account called @InwoodSeal and coded up a bot to monitor Twitter for signs the cute critter has returned.

I’m keeping the code under wraps for now, lest someone try to game the (amateur) formula I’m using to spot seal sightings. But it’s similar to the weather bot I built, and the code for that is here.

Alerts on Your Phone

If you’re in or near Northern Manhattan, have a Twitter account and want text alerts when @InwoodSeal tweets, it’s easy to set up:

Be sure you have your mobile phone attached to your account by clicking on your icon, selecting settings and then mobile.

Also be sure to check the box next to “Tweets from people you’ve enabled for mobile notifications”


  • Go to the @InwoodSeal page
  • Follow the account
  • Click on the “gear” icon
  • Pick Turn On Mobile Notifications

Here’s hoping the little guy comes back again!

#MakeEveryWeek is a challenge to myself to do just that for all of 2015. The original post on the idea is here, and the running list of projects so far is here.

Seal icon at the top is by Dorian Dowance. I found it at The Noun Project.