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.
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.
This seal had beautiful fur. It reminded me a bit of a leopard!
Look at those teeth! Seals feed on a variety of fish and shellfish. The smell hangs in the air…
It is thought that seals bask in the sun in order to remove parasites from their skin. They don’t move a lot.
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!
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.
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.
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. Here is a macro shot of a winter blooming camellia.
A red witch hazel.
This is Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Grandiflora.’ An unusual looking flower, which according to the RHS, is generally pest and disease free. It originates from the Himalayas and was introduced in the 1850’s. It is tricky to cultivate, but produces fragrant blooms if successful.
An abstract of red witch hazel.
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, bringing snowdrops into the home may signify impending death…
A crocus and snowdrop.