Sunday, 2 December 2007


This little chap turned up a week ago and as you can see, has made himself at home. Lynn happened to be away the night he arrived. I got back to the island after midnight, and as I was about to step from the jetty onto the grass, I heard a kind of snuffling sound coming from more or less directly below my feet. It was slightly unsettling as I couldn’t see into the blackness under the jetty, but it wasn’t a threatening sound by any means; anyway I got the torch from my bag and there he was, two big button eyes staring up at me from six feet away.

Obviously, we see lots of seals around the lough, but they are normally quite shy, and will take to the water if you get too close – but this one, clearly a pup, was quite unphased. The water was only a few feet away but he didn’t make any attempt to reach it. My first thought was that he was sick, and I didn’t get much sleep that night for worrying about him. At first light, however, I looked over the edge of the veranda to see him making his entirely unhurried way down the shore to the water. The tide was three-quarters out so there was a fair distance to cover and it must have taken him ten minutes.

Once into the water, he swam about for a while and then got up on the jetty, where he lay for an hour in the early sun – that’s when I took the photo.

Well, he’s been here ever since. Lynn is back now, and it’s breaking her heart that we’re not allowed to feed him, but we checked with the very helpful seal rescue people at Exploris Aquarium in Portaferry, and apparently it’s normal that after being fattened by their mothers and weaned, seal pus are left to fend for themselves and must learn to fish. So, we’ve resisted – not easy when he pops up out of the water beside us when we head down the jetty or get into the rowing boat, as if to say, ‘You don’t look much like mum but how about some food?’
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