Seal study – Part 2

Seals are intriguing creatures. Looking at the way they look back at us, they probably find us quite interesting too. They are playful and expressive. I tried to find out a bit more about their behaviour, but other than the fact that they are “highly intelligent marine mammals,” not much is known about their “subtle nuances.” (Cornwall seal group research trust). 

They are certainly fun to watch from a distance – guidelines suggest 150 feet. Not only can they bite, but they can pass on some infectious diseases to humans. They can suffer stress, or even abandon their young.

Seals look almost dog-like, yet also like big blubbery, furry fish! There are many stories written about seals. Selkie stories from Scottish and Irish folklore, are about creatures which are seal-like in appearance in the ocean, yet take on the human form on land. Many of the stories are classed as “romantic tragedies.”

DSC_0113bDSC_0143DSC_0109DSC_0135DSC_0175DSC_0127

Advertisements

Seal study – Part I

I was fortunate to get quite close to an Atlantic grey seal and Common seal colony with my telephoto lens.

Bulls live for 25 years, but cows live up to 35 years. It is important to keep your distance because they can move fast and bite. They may also abandon their pups.

DSC_0003

This seal had beautiful fur. It reminded me of a leopard! 

DSC_0025

Look at those teeth! Seals feed on a variety of fish and shellfish. The smell hangs in the air…

DSC_0043

It is thought that seals bask in the sun in order to remove parasites from their skin. They don’t move a lot.

DSC_0047

A seal breeding area is called a rookery!

More pictures to follow in a few days, but I am keeping hold of my best ones for now… I have other plans for those!

DSC_0053

Egyptian geese

I noticed these birds last Winter because of their unusual plumage and (not being a bird-watcher) found out they were Egyptian geese. They were back again today, so I abandoned the flower photography.

They were introduced to the UK in the late 17th Century as an ornamental bird to adorn the lakes of country estates. They are originally from sub-tropical Africa and the Ancient Egyptians considered them sacred. However, these days in their native homeland they have become a nuisance because they eat crops.

Until recently in the UK, these birds were quite rare and were mainly confined to a small area of Norfolk. The birds tend to breed in January, traditionally too cold for chicks to survive, but as temperatures have increased over the last 20 years, so too has the population of these birds and they are now found in different parts of the UK.

fullsizeoutput_12bfullsizeoutput_134bfullsizeoutput_13dfullsizeoutput_123fullsizeoutput_129

A carpet of snowdrops …

One week later and the snowdrops were out in force! Galanthus nivalis is one species which self-seeds and spreads quickly. Bees use snowdrops for nectar, when not many other plants are flowering.

DSC_0010DSC_0001DSC_0062bDSC_0066DSC_0074DSC_0030fullsizeoutput_119

Winter flowers

It was great to see the RHS garden coming to life last weekend. Not only were there snowdrops, but also daffodils, miniature cyclamen, winter aconite and dwarf crested iris. 

I managed to get a macro shot of a winter blooming camellia.fullsizeoutput_114

A red witch hazel.fullsizeoutput_117

Then there was this very strange one – Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Grandiflora.’ An unusual looking flower, which is generally pest and disease free – according to the RHS. It originates from the Himalayas and was introduced in the 1850’s. It is tricky to cultivate, but produces fragrant blooms if successful.fullsizeoutput_10e

Finally – my abstract version of the red witch hazel.fullsizeoutput_10b

 

Snowdrops

They’re here!!!!

The botanical name for snowdrops is ‘Galanthus.’ The name is thought to come from the Greek word ‘gala’ meaning milk – like the colour of the plant. There are 2500 varieties of snowdrop.

According to folklore, snowdrops should not be brought into the home because it may signify impending death.

fullsizeoutput_97fullsizeoutput_84fullsizeoutput_b7fullsizeoutput_a4fullsizeoutput_83