Tuesday 30 October 2012

Fight Night

Fight of the bulls (David Steel)

No mercy (David Steel)

The fight continues (David Steel)

Would you mess? (David Steel)

Great Skua meets Grey Seal (Bex Outram)

Stranger in the camp (Bex Outram)

Wednesday 30th October comments: The seal colonies are becoming action packed and nothing comes bigger or stronger than bull seals. At almost 40 stone, they are muscular monsters not to be messed with. In the last week or two, more and more bulls have arrived on the colonies, to claim their spots and protect a harem of cow seals. However it’s not that easy on England’s largest Grey Seal colony, things never are as the fighting has begun.

Bull seals have to defend their territories on the islands and at times that means fighting off rival males. Bigger is better, as the strongest and biggest bull seals take supremacy but the young bulls don’t give up easily as they take the older bulls on, head-to-head. The fights are graphic, bloody and not for the fainthearted. Thankfully they never end in death but the battles take their toll as adult males don’t live as long as females, due to all the battling they do in their lifetime. It’s not easy being a Grey Seal!

On the bird front, small numbers of Little Auks were seen today whilst a Waxwing flew over calling heading towards the mainland. The most interesting record of the day involved a young Great Skua which lingered on the Seal colonies for the day on the prowl for food. The bird was fairly tame as it walked amongst the breeding Grey Seals bold as brass, tucking in to all sorts including the Seals afterbirth!

Things are really starting to kick off with the Seals and we’ll have our next count completed in a couple of days (if the weather allows!) and I’ll bring you the full details once complete (and watch out for news of our twins tomorrow on the blog!). With over 1000 pups still to be born on the Farnes, it’s crunch time!

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