Isle of May – first departures

It is now mid-field season on the Isle of May, and it has been a very successful season so far. We have heart rate monitors on ten mothers, and have been collecting detailed behavioural observations on all of them. Unfortunately for Sean it’s time to leave the island, as he has to get back to Durham to start lecturing – and to take the second year ‘Behaviour’ class on a field trip to Lincolnshire, where Amy, Amy and James are working!

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Sean leaving the Isle of May, while the seals bask in the sun.

However, Naomi remains on the Isle of May, with the rest of the team from the Sea Mammal Research Unit (University of St. Andrews), to carry on the work, right through into December. Naomi will be conducting dawn-to-dusk observations on the seals that we have already attached monitors to, but will also be hoping to attach a few more heart rate monitors  to other mothers by the end of the season.

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Naomi conducting behavioural observations from one of her many vantage points on the island – this is the old fog-horn on the Isle of May

Another departure is mother ‘Head-Scar’, one of the first mothers we attached a heart rate monitor to. She has successfully raised her pup and weaned it, and has headed back to the open ocean to replenish the energy she has used up whilst nursing her pup on the island. We did however remove the heart rate monitor before she disappeared, and no doubt we’ll see her again next year on the Isle of May.

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A very contented pup resting next to its mum (‘Head-Scar’) the day before mother headed of back to sea, leaving the pup to fend for itself.

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