It's seal pupping time here in South Ron. This, along with the fact that the weather yesterday and today was particularly fine, prompted us to to Windwick to see how they were getting along.
Windwick, of course, is where 188 men died in January 1918 when their two ships sank after foundering in a snowstorm on the rocks in front on Hesta Head. I took this picture below of the site and of the wicked rocks yesterday. The ships' story is here):
The seals come into this bay to pup on the rocky beach, which is out of frame on the left of this picture.
It is just the start of the pupping season here, so there were not that many seals on the beach. (We will be back, as Arnold would say.)
One thing I only discovered this after we got home yesterday was that we were actually there during a birth. Here are some seals on the beach...
...and here is the group snapped a few minutes later with the mum resting after having just given birth
Meanwhile, the dads stand guard in the sea, just off the shore
Olena and little Athena enjoyed the excursion. Here is Olena, one small step from certain death (clifftops do have that frightening aspect). The seals are right below, at the base of the cliff.
Being idiots, we forgot to take the binoculars with us when we went to Windwick yesterday, so, the weather still being fine, we went again today, taking with us both the binoculars and two nice new Ukrainians – a mother and young teen daughter from Vinnitsa – who have now also come to live in the village but were unable to join us yesterday.
Today was more exciting because there had not only been more births, but also we saw two or three large seals having a fight about something.
However, let's start with is another baby, so we all can go 'ooh, ain't he cute!'
The two dark grey adults soon after got into a serious argument. The fight, seemingly bloodless, took place first in the water
and the continued on land, with a great galumphing chase of two weighty beasties across the beach...
...culminating in a snarling duel...
...after which the seal I presume was the loser was chased back into the sea.
Once calm was restored, mum came out of the water and settled down to the complex business of getting her little one to feed. It takes for ever for the two beasts to get into the right position for the little one to suck on to a teat.