Trip Cut Short

Some unexpected news means our trip has to be curtailed, so our last day in the colony was today.

Here we see the 3 wise monkeys contemplating Rona life. As is evident, the seals aren’t impressed.

C’est la vie.

We expect a busy few days before departure. All hands to the decks – and hides!

P, T, S, J.

Pup in Red

During our work in the colony on Sunday, a couple of things really caught our attention. The first was a female who was tagged here as a pup way back in the early nineties: a nice example of natal site fidelity – females coming back to breed at the same site as they were born. The second was a young pup wearing a dashing red jacket for his weigh-in (pictured). Isn’t it nice when they dress up for the occasion!

After the rain yesterday, there was plenty of sunshine today whilst Sian and Paddy went up to Fianuis north to test the aerial survey ‘copter, and it was a balmy seventeen degrees in the hides!

Most importantly – on the food front we’re almost out of “fresh” meat, but a can of haggis (for “6-12 people”, apparently) went down nicely with some neeps and tatties last night after a day of hard work, and the gammon still tastes great once the mould has been removed…

Shopping in Dundee

Here we are at the end of another fun-packed Rona week. Frolics with hides, pups and water containers are just too hilarious to relate in all their detail to our readers.
So you’ll be glad to know that all personnel are still healthy (relatively) and retain all digits etc.

We’ve seen the weather worsen steadily as we approach our next full day in the colony – tomorrow. You lot will be having a “normal” Saturday, we’ll be up to our necks in pup poo, snarly mums and dumb males. Coming to think of it, sounds just like shopping in Dundee…..

Old Friends and Chocolate Cake

Sian did a photosurvey in the northern part of the island the other day and after comparing the patterns we found one of our oldest photo-ided seals, Rose, among those up north. This is a really good example of one of the girls I hadn’t seen for many years suddenly appearing again.
We were in the colony today again and James, Sian and Toby got to weigh some more older pups. They are aware now of the reality of the effort required- backs and legs are complaining!

The quality of food continues to impress – Sian has produced an unburnt choc cake which was fallen upon and devoured before it was barely out of the oven.

Wildlife passing by has included many geese with a few barnacles in amongst a flock of greylags. There has been surprising little else of note, apart from what looked like a dead whale floating on the surface a few miles off the south of the island yesterday. I’m sure the Joint Warrior exercise going on here has no connection to that at all.

Monday – just another special day

Monday is a tough day most weeks in normal land, but out here events and little accomplishments give each day something special.

Today we had a couple of cool old friends appear: Ping appeared in the Fank Gulley and later Discus was seen on the west edge of the colony. These are animals that have featured in our records for many years. It is still worrying that there are just over 100 females visible in the whole of Fianuis South. When I first started mapping this area in 1996, 350 females used the area at this time in the season. Fianuis North is the same. The reappearance of many of our known animals contrasts with the decline in general.

The first photosurvey from Sean’s Revenge took place this afternoon, while Sian trekked north to do FN. Toby trialled his new observation regime, and found his batteries were a bit less reliable than anticipated.

We look forward to a curry this evening, courtesy of TO.