Monday, 3 December 2012

What the seals are doing now

Going to see the building works gave me a chance to see what the seals are up to. According to the seal researchers it hasn't been an earlier season than normal but lots of females have pupped together so the island is actually starting to clear out a bit. For me it still looked like there were seals everywhere when I stepped onto the island with the eerie wailing and sharp musky tang on the air.
Youngsters weaned from their mothers are lying around the island living off their reserves. They often find small patches of water to roll around in and play in the mud before finally plucking up courage to work their way down to the sea.
When you see the mud baths that are created and what conditions the pups have to live in you can see why a percentage of  pups don't survive the first month or two but succumb to infections.
And dotted in amongst the seals are the environmental services team - the greater black-backed gulls the are busy clearing up the dead pups and afterbirth.

The weaners, those pups that have stopped feeding from their mothers get into all sorts of places such as this one welcoming us onto the island at Alterstanes and making sure we went off again.

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