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Birdie Group Oct 2015
by Jack MacInnes - 08:15 on 22 October 2015
Not in fact with birds as the primary objective this time but grey seals, as this is an annual tradition to witness the pupping. We set off from Burwick and in bracing conditions made our way round to the geos on the west side of South Ronaldsay.
There was some initial apprehension that the geos were unoccupied but soon well camouflaged mothers and pups were being seen in numbers and we continued on past Barth Head to the Shortie Geo before turning back. Mothers give birth to a single white coated pup of around 12kgs. which grows within a month to 40 - 45kgs. thanks to enormously rich milk. The females then mate as soon as the pup is weaned and all head off to sea.
Birds were also seen, gannets plunging to fish, shags and cormorants, blackbacks, rock pippets and meadow pippets, migrating redwing and an unidentified thrush ( time to look at the books ).
Thanks to all who braved the conditions and made a cheerful few hours with good exercise.
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