A typical day??

No such thing really. After several days of hard graft we’ve managed to deploy all 16 of our heart rate monitors and all 15 of the accelerometers. So, our work switches focus now to much more observations – in fact dawn till dusk every day, sitting somewhere in a wee hollow among the rocks, grass and mud of the Isle of May, with our video cameras trained from afar on one or more of our study mothers. Our task is firstly to make sure the video camera stays on our focal female, and to note down any additional observations about what they or their neighbours get up to. We also need to do our best to protect the video cameras and the laptop that is logging the heart rate data from the elements – from fine Scottish mists to wind driven rain – and the forecast for the next few days is for more of the latter!

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Doing observations in the rain from a handy vantage point on the Isle of May

So that’s what we’ll be doing about 8 hours a day, followed by evenings of backing up video footage, recharging batteries (the equipment batteries with electricity and ourselves with a wee dram or two!). We’ll probably just about be settling nicely into this routine when it’s time to think about recapturing some of the females that were the first to sport our heart rate monitors and accelerometers – they’ve now been wearing these for 10 days, and we need to retrieve the equipment before the mothers wean their pups and head off back to sea for a well earned fishy feast!

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Three of our study females happily at home – female  44004 on the bank to the left of the pool, 6L on the bank to the right, and 5B in her usual spot in the pool .

And that’s what’s in store for the next wee while – but in addition to all that – its also about time for Rocky to make an appearance!

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Dusk gathering over the mainland to the south, almost time to stop observations for the day.

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