Wednesday, 11 November 2015

No end to seals and no end to gale force winds

October was a real treat: sunny, warm and calm but it seems that November is trying to make up for it by being very uncomfortable. We have had gale force winds for nearly two weeks and if we are honest it is getting a bit on our nerves. 

Windguru hasn't got good news for us

Seal monitoring becomes a real challenge when your paper and your cheeks rattle in the wind, your bins get rained on and then splashed by sea spray, your notebook turns into papier-mâché, your eyes water from the gusts and your whole body sways as if drunk.

Don’t go too close the edge is the motto!

The seal mums also have a much harder job looking after their pups and the pup survival rate has dropped since the start of the bad weather: one day there are five pups on the beach and the next day it’s deserted. 

One of our pups has been swept all the way to Ramsey and to our delight and astonishment its mum was able to follow it. Have a read of Ramsey’s exciting blog about our adventurous pup 193.

New born pup 193 with mum on North Haven beach on the 22nd October

Last Saturday we had a four hour respite of the gale force winds and Leighton made the best of the weather window and left the island for the winter. When we woke up in the morning the sea was lead grey, the swell threw white frothing waves onto the beach and foam was flying past the house – we never ever imagined that two hours later we would be going over to Martin’s Haven in sunshine and calm seas.

Since then Ed and myself have been alone on the island… well not really alone, today we shared the island with 265 seals – the haul-outs are building as more and more immature seals and moulting seals rest on the beaches at low tide.

The seals are congregating on the sheltered beaches

And still new pups are getting born, this pup was born today on North Haven beach, it's mum was keen to get it to suckle but I think it didn't quite know what to do...

...but eventually it got the hang of it.

(Skomer Warden)

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