Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Thanks very much to our volunteers Jean and Ed who helped this morning with clearing up the car park. We raked up the fallen leaves, pulled up weeds and cut back brambles, all whilst enjoying the beautiful sunshine. Lizy

Jean and Ed tidy the car park

Monday, 12 December 2016

I brought a friend up to see the breeding seals at the weekend. We spent a good half an hour watching a pair of seals mating in the shallows, gently being wafted in and out by the waves. Soon after they had finished, another female seal started making advances on the male, swimming round him, calling and slapping her flippers on the surface of the water. Its all go! My pictures were taken from up by the car park too, but with not such a snazzy camera as Margaret's. Still, not bad though! Liza.

Mating involves the male and female being coupled for up to 45 minutes. Its usually on land, but sometimes it occurs in the shallows.

Luckily seals can hold their breath for 20 minutes or so if they need to!

Here's some great shots taken by one of our volunteers, Margaret, of some seal action on Petticowick beach. These were taken from the car park, admittedly with a zoom lens, but it gives you an idea of what can be seen from there, even just with the naked eye. Liza.

A mother and her middle-sized pup - much communication is done through smell, sound and touch.

The pup having a suckle - seal milk has 50-60% fat content. The pup will triple its weight from 15kg at birth to 45kg at weaning in just three weeks! The mother doesn't feed during the suckling period, so she can half her weight during the same time period.

Females will guard their pups fiercely from anything they see as a threat - here another female was just getting a bit too close! Mostly its just snarling, posturing and a bit of flipper waving, but it can escalate.

It's always a nice surprise at this time of year to arrive up at the clifftops and find them filled with seabirds! For the past week or so the Guillemots have been coming in from the sea to sit on the cliffs around Foul Bay in the early morning. They have always disappeared back out to sea, where they spend the majority of the winter, by lunchtime. Lizy

Thursday, 8 December 2016

A great wee film showcasing St Kilda, but with a worrying message. The good thing is, though, you can help. Definitely worth spending 15 minutes watching this. Liza.

Monday, 5 December 2016

We've had beautifully calm weather here for the last few days, and the perfectly flat sea conditions are ideal for spotting cetaceans. On Sunday a local birdwatcher spotted 24 Bottlenose Dolphins in the sea near Fast Castle, and then today we spotted a group of about 7 just off Foul Bay and the lighthouse. They were moving pretty slowly so I even managed to get a photo. The calm weather should hopefully last until the weekend so keep a look out if you're up on the cliff tops! Lizy

Bottlenose Dolphins - Tursiops truncatus

Thursday, 1 December 2016

We have had a couple of instances of people getting in contact and expressing concern about seal pups lying around in unusual places. Here's some info that might help - please feel free to share and spread the word. Liza.

Some of you may have noticed that the potholes on the road leading to the Nature Reserve car park are getting bigger and more numerous. Unfortuntaley, this is public highway, not road belonging to us, so there is nothing we can do about it apart from report it to Scottish Borders Council. We have done this, but they are working on a limited budget, and as it is an unlisted road, it is not top priority. With safety in mind, we have ringed the potholes with yellow paint, so hopefully you can spot them and avoid them. Fingers crossed that SBC manage to find some underspent money towards the end of the financial year to carry out repairs Liza.