Feb 18, 2010

Bearded seal

That’s been an excellent lent day today and its only three o’clock!! I was up late watching the halfpipe finals on the Olympics last nigh which was absolutely superb!! Understandably I arose a little late and when the computer eventually went on there was a notice of a Bearded seal hauled out on Finstown slip on Birdforum. Excellent stuff, grabbing a book for some ID I bundled my gear in the wife’s car and frog marched her out to drive whilst I read up on the finer points of identification. My guide for this was the super little book Sillocks Skarfies and Selkies by Chris and Jean Booth. It comprehensively covers all of the vertebrae fauna that has been and may be found across our isles. ( its pocket sized and well recommended)

There have only been four recorded sightings before across Orkney, one in 87 out at Deerness, in 88 one was reported from several areas with one hauling out on the Corn slip Kirkwall on the 16 may. On the 28th aug 2004 another juvenile hauled out on the Cornslip once again and then in march 05 another hauled out on the Ouse at Finstown just over the bay from this feller.

This is an Arctic species and is non migratory hence it is little seen outside of its home waters Its coloured grey with a slightly brownish head and fairly light belly it has a nice flat forehead and of course a magnificent beard of curling whiskers after which it is named. This a rare enough species to attract a few visitors that are in to the rare mammal thing so I am wondering if there will be any seal twitchers dropping in on the isles for a quick tick.

One note of caution though. Bearded seals will not behave like our local seals and take to the water if approached. They tend to stay still and wait out any threat. This may make them seem very tame but this is defiantly not the case. The get very stressed with close approaches and before long will show signs of trembling and shivering. So if you are going for a look please stay at the top of the slip and enjoy the view. PLEASE DO NOT APPROACH IT CLOSLY!! It is worth noting that my photos were taken through the scope from well back in the car park.

Anyway all that said…enjoy!!

No comments:

Post a Comment