Why hello there blog fans!
Tis sad indeed but my time on the May is drawing to a close. Crosspark is getting quiet these days, a lot of my fine ladies are off to sea leaving only a handful of late mums and weaners around to keep me going! Once the mums have mated they wean their pups soon after and leave the island, ready to get nice and fat for next year’s pup! I am currently rounding off my observations, making sure that the girls have enough day and night time videos and keeping up with when each female leaves her weaned pup behind.
Bettys friend from over the wall is gone now, she had moved away from her original spot when a couple of males started a fight a few days ago (one of them was my wall-climber, he lost surprise surprise!) so the walk to my hide has been rather uneventful of late. However I have acquired some new friends outside the front of my hide of late…the weaners!!! That’s right, we call weaned pups weaners (no sniggering at the back there!) and they are hilarious. Weaners are miniature seals with no neck to speak of, just a rippling barrel of fat. They are curious and they love exploring! I had a friend the other day who decided to come and play with the ropes that anchor down the hide. I would like to point out that I could hear him coming before I saw him, he huffed and puffed his way over, making belly slap noises as he moved. He had a tentative sniff of the blue ropes and then dived in having a quick bite. He was having a great time till he got his head stuck and had to do a J-Turn to get out. He then swiftly flopped away!
There is a lot of fluff around in Crosspark at the moment. As pups get older they start to lose their white fur (or lanugo) to reveal their beautiful (and unique) pelage beneath. They have the same pattern all their lives and this patterning is often used to ID animals that don’t have tags (distinctive scars can also be used but these can obviously change throughout the animals lifetime). The marks are the basis of my ID catalogue for all of the girls in Crosspark.
So the informative bit is over, which leaves me to reminisce wistfully about my time here on the Isle of May and I think a few thank yous are in order. First and foremost I would like to thank Betty, for being a source of inspiration on so many occasions and a source of fear on all too many others. Secondly all my girls in Crosspark I would like to thank whole-heartedly for not eating me and accepting the presence of the strange box in the corner of their field. A third thank you goes out to my human friends on the island, many of whom have been roped into bringing my night vision camera down to my hide. They deserve thanks also for fun times of an evening, playing games, having a sing song and cooking an array of exotic tasty dishes. Finally Sean, my supervisor, deserves very big thanks for many things, including tuition on how to deal with the humble seal and rebuilding the wall next my hide (yes it fell down, during the original capture event for the females in Crosspark, I was most unamused!). And there you go, my thanks are over it would seem, I am sure I will have missed people or seals out but they will forgive me I am sure.