Friday, 27 February 2015

Washed Up Dead

At first sight, this bit of flotsam looked like a gift from heaven to a local crofter - a bag full of top-quality, hand-picked scallops.  It may have come from a small fishing boat which had been off Ormsaigbeg in the previous couple of days, but why the diver should have lost his bag is a bit of a mystery.

Sadly, when the finder investigated the bag's contents, all the scallops were open.  This didn't seem a good sign, so they were all thrown back into the water - though the crofter kept the bag in case he ever went diving for scallops.

Further along the shore, something even less palatable had been washed up.  The larger corpse had obviously been there for some time, long enough for it to have been picked over by the birds and other scavengers.  It's a seal, fully grown, and....

....the other is a seal pup.  Its white fur suggests it was very young when it died.

At first sight it seemed that this was a mother and baby which died together.  The pups of grey seals are born in the autumn and normally stay on the remote 'haul-out', along with other pups, for the first three weeks of their lives.  We've never seen live pups on this beach, and this, along with the fact that they were together, suggested that the mother and pup might have been having problems: perhaps the pup was born at sea before both were washed up.

That they arrived at different times leaves only one small mystery: why were they washed up so close together on the Ormsaigbeg beach?

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