Monday, 30 September 2013

Seal Tagging

The first seal pup of the year has just been born, so I thought I would post about the seals we see over the year.

Now I don't tag seals but I have been taking pictures of the seals over the last few years and trying to get the numbers from the tags to find out where they come from, how old they are and any other information I can find out.

2012 was a very successful year for the seal tags and we also saw a few branded seals. Now I don't know if it's because we have been paying more attention and looking for the tags more or they are swimming down from other area's to feed at the Farnes, but this is one of the things that I will learn from the tags and branded seals.

The only thing that is a pain, are the tags. I don't want to tell the guys that tag the seals how to do their job but alot of the tags are just not good enough. They are tagged on their fins, flippers or tails, whatever you want to call them but after a while the numbers rub off.

We have seen some yearlings this year and you can't see the numbers at all. Yes I can take pictures of the sides of the seals and they can match the seals patten and identify it but this is a long and slow process.

Branded seals are more visible and easy to read but this method was stopped in 1996 and I don't blame them for stopping it as it does not look very nice and it is a bit cruel to the seals, but if someone can come up with a better idea or better tags it will be more beneficial for the guys who put in all the hard work in tagging the seals. I must have seen about 10 or so seals this year in which I can't see the tags and they are in such a position that I even can't get a picture of the side of them.

Oh well never mind I will keep on trying to find tags and hopefully help the guys to find out more about the seals and you never know we might find the world record for the oldest grey seal.

2012 Results

Tagged seal on South Whames 73212Tagged as a weaned pup on the Isle of May in November, 2011

2 Branded Seals on Longstone Island C9 and 3VC9 branded as an adult breeding female on 21/11/1989 and 3V branded as a weaned pup on 30/11/1991 both from the Isle of May as part of the long term study population.

Tagged seal on Longstone Island 72912  -- Tagged and released by the SSPCA at Inverkeithing in 2012.  Probably a pup also born on the Isle of May in the autumn of  2011 as most of the grey seals they rehabilitate are from that breeding colony.

Tagged seal on Longstone 73065 - Tagged as a weaned pup on the Isle of May in November, 2011

Branded seal on Longstone with a big   A number of weaned pups were all branded with a big V in the middle of their backs so they could be identified to year of birth.  So this guy was branded in November 1991.  This was the only year they did this cohort branding in the end, so if you see any more, they will all be 1991 animals (so 22 years old!)

Tagged seal on Scarcar Island 73189 - Tagged as a weaned pup on the Isle of May in November, 2011

Tagged seal on Longstone 73020 - Tagged as a weaned pup on the Isle of May in November, 2011

Tagged seal on South Whames 72896 - Tagged as a weaned pup on the Isle of May in November, 2009

This is fascinating stuff and next I see these seals I will know how old they are by just looking but I will still send my sightings off as it is more important to them than it is me. 

I would like to thank the guys for all their hard work and keep it up guys.

These are some of the seals we see around the Farnes. 


Friday, 20 September 2013

Artic Skua

We have had a good few Artic Skuas around the Farnes lately and they have been doing what they do best and attack other birds for their food. We also saw one sitting on the rocks at Blue Caps and it was not bothered at all. It was just a pity it was directly into the sun. 

Here are a few pictures for you.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Sunset Cruises

The Sunset Cruises are now finished for the year and I must say they are the best trips. In the breeding season we have watched Jumplings (Guillemot Chicks) take that leap of faith. We have had the perfect light for all our photographers that have joined me and most of all we had had some cracking sunsets.

Here is some pictures I have taken throughout the year and we will be doing them again next year so if your into Photography this is a must. If your not into photography then you will not be disappointed with this trip so why not join me next year.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Grace Darling

September 7th 1838 the Rescue Mission

William Brooks, the youngest Darling living at home, was away fishing at Seahouses when the shipwreck occurred. This meant that only Grace and her parents were in the lighthouse, at the mercy of the dreadful storm. 

Grace, unable to sleep, was watching the storm through her bedroom window. She saw a large, black shape on Big Harcar Rock. Grace woke her father and with a telescope they studied the wreck for signs of life. They were none. Grace watched and watched and as daylight crept in around 7am Grace saw movement on the rock. There were indeed survivors of the wreck, two or three perhaps. William thought the sea was to rough for the lifeboat from Seahouses to set out, so he pondered what to do. 
He knew the rocks and he knew the tides but was still not sure. Grace pleaded with her father to try and rescue them.
As Grace's mother watched her husband and daughter push the 20 foot coble out into the sea she feared the worst. 

William decided that he would go on the south side of the rocks and this would give him more shelter from the stormy seas. Grace and her father rowed the boat around Blue Caps towards Big Harcar defying the wind, swell and spray and made it to the wreck. William then realised that 2 trips woul have to be done. 

William and Grace managed to get the boat close to the rock so that William could jump of to see the survivors. Grace held the boat while her father gathered together the weakest survivors and attempt to get them onto the boat. 
I could imagine that it was a hard decision to make which ones he took first but he did take Mrs Dawson with him but her two small children were dead and persuaded to leave them on the rock. 

I could not have done that if it was me but I suppose he did not want to lose another life. An injured man was next, but William needed some strong men to help him. He took John Tulloch and John Nicholson but this left Daniel Donovan and 3 others on the rock, plus the bodies of Reverend Rob and Mrs Dawson's children. 

They made it back to the Longstone and then he went back with the 2 survivors to rescue the remaining survivors. The 3 bodies were left on the rock until it was safer to collect them. 

Can you imagine the mixed feelings between Grace and William. It would have been joy, fear and sorrow for Mrs Dawson's loss, all mixed into one. 

  This is the report that William Darling sent to Trinity House 

 This is Grace Darling's window she looked out of during that stormy night. 

Today was 175 years since that famous day and the RNLI laid a reef on the water to celebrate our hero Grace Darling. We can not forget her father William either as he was a hero to.

They were going to try and row an old lifeboat out to the Longstone but the weather was to bad for them to do it. They however did row it out as far as they could and I have to take my hat off to the guys for doing it.

These are some pictures from today's adventures.

 The old and the new together as they come into the harbour.

 Grace Darling