Sunday, 22 May 2011

Excite Me

They were my words to Jimmy Steele when I returned his call early this afternoon because inevitably a call from Jimmy in May on a Sunday afternoon will do just that. Over the years I've lost count of the number of times he's turned an afternoon upside down with Short-toed Lark, Black-faced Bunting or Bonelli's Warbler dug out from pure graft.

Today was a little different but no less exciting, a family stroll in Beadnell Bay had turned up a Bearded Seal  Erignathus barbatus on the beach. Now I won't claim to know much about these matters but from what I've read this evening the first English record was a specimen captured at Burnham Overy on the east coast in 1892. In recent times one was in the Medway , Kent in 1991, another at Hartlepool in 1999 and the only other English record was of one taken into care in Lincolnshire in June 1998. (source)

Having spent the morning doing moths and housework I jumped in the car and drove up. When I arrived on the beach Newton Stringer was watching over the beast, a short 300m hop from the NT car park north of Newton village. We spent about 1.5 hours waiting for the tide to come in getting a good sandblasting. The seal was fairly inactive whilst we there, prompting fears that it was sick. However as I headed home Stringer rang with good news that the Marine Mammal Rescue guy had arrived, consulted with 'experts' elsewhere and was of the opinion this was fairly typical behaviour and that it looked fit and well. As the high tide pushed in it became slightly more active, rolling in the waves and creeping up the beach with the rising water.

 Not an Arctic ice floe but a windswept Northumbrian Beach

Live Long & Prosper!

 Surf's Up

I haven't compared images tonight but a quick check at birdguides would suggest it isn't the long-staying Orkney animal as that was still at Finstown on 19th.


daystar12uk said...

Stunning pictures of a wonderful animal. How lucky you were to see it.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures of a beautiful animal.

Anonymous said...

Super images, Alan. And facial hair to be very proud of!