So tell me grey seal, how does it feel

Big announcement.  The rules have changed.  To date I have been using a lyric from Pink Floyd as the title for the blog post, but to be honest it is not always easy to find something relevant. to the extent that I have used the same line twice without realising it.  So I am throwing off the shackles of single band loyalties, and casting my net wider into the realms of popular music culture, in this instance Sir Elton John.

I am tempted to confound you now by posting photographs of sheep, for which there is a perfectly adequate Pink Floyd song, but seals it is.

This week I decided to make more use of the 100-400 lens, bought specifically for wildlife, and take a drive out to Donna Nook on the Lincolnshire coast for the annual event where the seals come ashore for a few weeks to give birth to their pups.  The fact they do this on the site of an RAF firing range seems pretty dumb, but I guess seals were not copied in on the memo.  On the way my wife phoned to say there was a very rare black seal pup this year, and I was not to return until I had a worthwhile shot.  At the weekend the seal count was; Bulls 724, Cows 1,596 and Pups 1,692.  Needle meet haystack I thought, it could be a cold night in the car.

But the photography gods were on my side. A friendly (and they are all friendly) warden just happened to know where it had been sighted that afternoon.

I tried so hard not to feel smug as I stood with all my 800mm equivalent extended and handheld, whilst the Nikon and Canon fraternity struggled with their scaffolding to stop their 600mm lenses from shaking or breaking their arms.  So happy I changed…  and 800mm handheld is not a euphemism.

Most of the seals and the newborn were just lying around sleeping and being bored with the people staring at them, but every now and then there was a dispute over territory or just general bad feeling and there would be fight.  When they fight they move pretty fast for a large mammal.

Most of them were just lying there looking photogenic though, including the last one below who had only been born the previous evening and still had a few inches of umbilical cord in place.


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