The breeding season here is finally drawing to a close, currently at a total of almost 1700 pups since late October, which means that the colony is still steadily expanding each year, in contrast with many others around the UK. For Amy B and I, it’s been amazing to be back, and Amy H enjoyed her first taste of a long field season. Aside from the tidal surge earlier in the month we were very fortunate with the weather this year – much warmer than last year, and very little in the way of rain. Of course, the seals are likely to have noticed the change, too – the lack of rain means that there were fewer pools available for bathing throughout the season, so it’ll be interesting to see if this was accompanied by changes in behaviour.
Looking back at last years’ list of “You know you’re a seal researcher when…“, it’s clear that not too much has changed. We were still greeted by amazing sunrises over the colony most mornings, and by odd looks from people in the shops (the smell of seal does a lot for your social life…). The improved weather meant there was less ice to scrape off the car, but we were left without the excuse of eating chocolate “because it keeps us warm”; despite this chocolate consumption was at an all-time high!
As always we felt a bit sad to be leaving, though it was nice to be joined by a small send-off party as I arrived to take down the remaining hide:
We hope you have enjoyed reading our ramblings from the field as much as we have enjoyed the research. Be sure to check back for updates every so often; the research group is certain to have some intriguing results from this year and it’ll be interesting to see how the findings from this year sit with those from the previous seasons at this site.
Till next time!