On yesterday’s blog, I asked if you could identify this animal, and there were quite a few suggestions, some less sensible than others!!
The answer is…
…it’s a Grey Seal.
I took the photo a couple of weeks ago on the Isle of Mull. That is, the seal was off the Isle and I was on it, but only just! By the end of the session, at least, I was more in the water than on the land.
I’d been sitting on the rocky shore for most of the day, hidden away between a group of rocks about 30 yards or so from the water. This position kept me hidden whilst affording me a good view of a stretch of coast, in case my otter friend should come along. He didn’t. But much as I was hidden adequately from an otter, the seals were on to me, and five of the sat bobbing about in the water for the whole day (don’t they have things to do?) just watching me inquisitively.
Towards the end of the day, the light was getting good and the tide was coming in, so I decided to edge slowly down towards the rapidly receding shoreline, and see if I could get some frame-filling head shots at water height. I like the fact that the waves were coming in, and that these partly obscured the seals’ faces as the water level bobbed up and down.
The only problem was that I hadn't protected my camera, and taking photos at water-level with an incoming tide means your camera can get wet, and salt-water is a particularly bad addition to a camera. I tried my best to keep the salt water off it, but given the choice between being careful and getting the shot, I always go for the shot. By the end of the session, the seals’ inquisitive nature, combined with the incoming tide, had brought them very close to me indeed. I was lying on the rocks in the shallow water, with my camera held just above water height by the beanbag it was resting on. I was cold, wet and happy in equal measure. My camera was not so happy – the battery grip is almost certainly a write off, and I’ll need to get the whole thing serviced before I’m able to use some features again (I can’t switch to movie mode!). Was it worth it? For me, yes, definitely! Moments where you manage to get this close to wildlife, and your presence is accepted, are simply golden.