Seal Fever

Weather: Bright and breezy wind strengthening later, cold.

We spent the morning involved in various administrative tasks before driving to the Isle of Flodaigh in Benbecula. On the way we stopped to look at a newly-restored ‘blackhouse’ where there were some unusual looking sheep nearby. Like our other unusual sheep these too were rams.. The Isle of Flodaigh is a recommended wildlife walk where at lot of Atlantic grey seals can be spotted, at low tide, lying on the rocks close offshore and otters are said to be there – although we did not spot any. On the way down, Nicola remarked on the fact that the swans spent a lot of time with their heads underwater, perhaps it is just the freezing wind..


Walking along a wet path, through a tangle of seaweed and over the rocks, to the coast. On arriving at the bay a heron glided in to alight directly in front of us. Seeing us, it fly quickly away, a great sight. Climbing on the rocks Th icy wind whipped round us and when we tried to use the binoculars the turbulent air forced us to hunker down between the rocks for shelter.

We were excited to see two plump Atlantic Grey Seals displaying themselves on the small islands in the bay. Their whiskery cat-like faces were animated as they twisted to and fro to obtain the most comfortable situation in the sunshine.


I was keen to see a disused building (looked interesting) further around the bay, but by this time Nicola had been seized by ‘seal fever’ she became very animated and was already walking around the coast in the opposite direction where numerous Common Seals were expected to be colonizing one of the other islands in the bay. When we managed to get a glimpse of these seals on the different island, they turned out to be more of the same Atlantic Grey Seals that we had seen earlier.


The walk is a circular one so we were soon back at the car and on our way to what is becoming our regular weekly swim at the pool in Benbecula. A Tawny Owl was flying in circles close by the road, its flight affected by the wind. We stopped and for once, located the binoculars in time to see it clearly. These birds are a great sight and have beautiful, intense faces as they scan the land for food. The return drive along the main road to North Uist passes between numerous lochs and through exposed moorland. At this time of day this route back is a good opportunity to see the many deer that live there and makes the journey home extremely enjoyable. We saw perhaps a dozen or so stags emboldened by the dusk.

It is good to see the cats take so much interest in the great outdoors. Their confidence has increased and boss cat (Ange) is staying out longer and longer. When they came back into the house they attacked their food ravenously. God help any rats would get in the way of that.


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