Wednesday 9 December 2009

Seal pups

Just having a look - a Farnes Grey Seal pup

Who are you?

Valuable milk for a new born pup

Only three weeks old but looking very different

Bulls will be bulls - fighting in the surf
Tuesday 8th December comments:
It was another roller coaster ride for the Grey Seal population on the Farnes. The first Seal pup of the autumn was discovered on the South Wamses on 4th October, and thereafter the ‘seal pupping season’ was underway. Numbers were slow to begin with, as the islands had produced only twenty-six pups by 18th October, although numbers started to increase thereafter. A total of ten islands were utilised, with South Wamses regaining its crown as the number one colony on the Farnes, having been outstripped by Staple Island the previous year.

The autumns weather was reasonably kind, although a series of westerly gales in mid-November brought a few problems. However just when we thought we had escaped the worst, a northerly storm battered the islands in late November resulting in the greatest loss of pups off the north edge of the islands. Although it’s early days, the mortality rate will be pushing 50% of pups which never made it to the crucial independent age of three weeks. This may appear high, but in Farnes terms, it’s just another average year.

Seal Pup Births 2009:
South Wamses 413
Staple Island 367
North Wamses 277
Brownsman 170
Northern Hares 87
Longstone 11
Knoxes Reef 9
Big Harcar 7
West Wideopens 4
Nameless Rock 1

Total: 1,346


Jan said...

50% does sound a lot, but as you say is about average. And such storms we've had it's only to be expected I suppose.

You all do a wonderful job keeping us updated and feeling like we can share a little bit in the beautiful wild nature on the Farnes. Many many thanks and have a great Christmas all of you!

kezia said...

David can you just tell me if you know did the one on nameless survive , 50 % does sound high but you say that is average so one presumes the weather didnt have too much of an impact . Hope you are all enjoying a well earned break and a few pints - making up for lost time maybe !!!

Farnes said...

Kezia - the pup on Nameless Rock and the picture of the pup in the surf (taken last week) both survived and were doing well with their mothers..with just a little helping hand...

kezia said...

Thank you David for your reply I did wonder if a little helping hand was given guess they are in the main able to swim now after those first dangerous few weeks