Settling in and exploring the island.

It’s Wed and we saw the sun today. This prompted much photo taking and we attach the first one of the team.

Paddy, Sian, James and Toby

The guys have been exploring the island while there’s a chance – there are only 8 seal mums and 2 pups in the study area at the minute.

This year is the 21st season in a row we’ve been monitoring this breeding colony.  During this time the number of pups born here has fallen from around 1400 to around 600. Finding out the reasons for this decline is one of the reasons we’re here. We’ve started recording activity on the colony but won’t begin full photo surveys to check the identities of who’s here for a while yet.

Sian is hoping to record births in the study area to examine early maternal behaviour to see how this varies (in between making origami animals).

Further updates soon.

Best from the team

Here we go!

The 2013 North Rona field season is under way!
We arrived safely on the island on Saturday 21st September just in time to make the best of the remaining hours of dry weather before the rain came in and everything seemed normal.

The party this year has three new faces to brighten up the hut and make the old man feel even older.
Sian joins us fresh from a whirlwind tour of the West Coast, after a spell doing diet work at SMRU.
James is a known commodity as he’s just finished a Master’s at Durham, working on seal distribution in relation to topographical features – he finally gets to see in reality what has been a simple map until now.
Toby hails from Portugal, but came to us via working as a photo-ID specialist in Wales. He has just started work on a PhD with Paddy, the fourth member and team boss.

We’ve spent Sunday and today getting the hut into some sort of order then setting up the hides above the study area.
Despite the near zero visibility, we managed to see a handful of seals ashore – the real early birds.

Our next posts will update on what we hope to do this season.

best,

P, J, S, T.