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Seals at Windwick

Two days of seals

Yesterday was particularly lovely and it started with me stepping out in my dressing gown to take this picture of the dawn light (at 9:15am!).

Towards lunchtime, I decided a quick little drive to Windwick might be a good idea. "To check up on the seals." I said, not that I was really hopeful as I thought it was too late in the season. How wrong I was! As soon as I stepped out of the car, I heard strange noises – a sort of bleating-croaking-whine coming up from the base of the cliff. Since the parking is at the top of cliff, one can't see the beach below until one steps to the very edge. It's a great place to go all year round for the view.

Once positioned to see the beach, it was clear that I was not late at all: the beach was littered with dozens of seals and their pups. They're very well camougflaged, though.

But look closely

These two appeared to be playing

They were all along the shore

Windwick is a lovely spot. This little view of the approach was particularly lovely yesterday. It looks like a toy village.

I was on my own yesterday. But today being Friday, Arthur gets home early from school. (It's the only day of the week he gets home in daylight – in winter, in summer of course, it's the opposite. So at this time of year, from Monday to Thursday it's dark when he goes for the morning bus at 7:44 and dark when he gets back at 16:10. So we all went off to Windwick to watch the seals. The pups are the ones that make a noise. They want milk from their mums but flop rather feebly on the stones while the mothers obviously have a hard time fatso-flopping their bulk into position for the babe. We watched it taking ages for a pup and mum getting it right and decided that the pups are pretty dim-witted. The one pictured feeding here flopped and bleated as he tried to get to his mum and kept going off in the wrong direction – towards her head and not her teat, whereupon she would try to push him in the right direction with her flipper. And he'd still get it wrong.

So we watched them a while, both with the naked eye and with binoculars, while munching a late-lunch Cornish pasty. After that, we set off for home. It was 3pm and the sun was already setting. So, since this started with a dawn photo, I'll finish this with this sunset photo I took today from Olad Summit, the viewpoint in the middle of South Ronaldsay, where we stopped on the way back from the seals.


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