Sunday 29 August 2021

Looe island monthly seal survey with CSGRT. Tues 24th August 2021.



The monthly Looe island survey seems to come around so quickly, it must be a sure sign of age!

Unusually for August in Cornwall the weather was superb, a bit of an Easterly blowing when we took the boat out of West Looe but as the morning went on any cloud cover cleared and the sun shone,

There were several seals in close to shore at high tide when we arrived and they then settled out on the offshore rocks as the tide dropped.

By the time we started our survey most had hauled out and we had at least 10 showing themselves as they tried to catch an undisturbed nap in the sun. Fortunately the easterly breeze kept most kayakers & paddle boarders in the harbour but a few hardy souls risked the waves but the disturbance to the seals was a lot less than in our July survey.


Grey Seal

Grey seals hauled out at low tide

Late summer can be an interesting time for birds as many are still feeding late young whilst others have started their annual migration. Birds are arriving from the North to spend their winter in the UK or farther south whilst others are leaving our shores to escape the winter in Africa or beyond.

There are however the residents and some may have "seasonal movements" but most will still be here next month and hopefully each month through the winter. Species such as Grey Heron, Little Egret, Oystercatchers, Shags & Cormorants may drift around the area but not enter into a full blown migration. That said I did find a ringed Grey Heron many years ago that had been ringed 5 months before as a nestling in Denmark so "how local is local?".

Little Egret


There was a good variety of waders about the island with Whimbrel, Curlew, Ringed Plover, Dunlin & Redshank all putting in an appearance. Here's a few photos......

Juvenile Ringed Plover

Ringed Plover

Ringed Plover with "rings".  





The good weather also brought out the butterflies and it was the most I've seen all the year with Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Large White, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper all in abundance. Having the right food palnts certainly helps and we watched them nectaring on Bramble, Ivy & Red Valerian.

Painted Lady butterfly


My sincere thanks to the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Looe Marine Conservation Group and of course Jon & Claire for letting me take part in these surveys.

 I love doing them and feel privileged to be involved.


Jeremy Gilson said...

Amazing photos as always, and a good write up. Thanks Adrian 😁

Claire Lewis said...

Thanks for sharing this write up about about the August Seal* Survey. The photos as ever are AMAZING - particularly liked the ringed Ringed Plover : )
Thanks too for sharing your time and knowledge when visiting the island - it really is appreciated but not just the other volunteers but by us wardens too!
Already looking forward to the September blog!
*In case anyone reading this is wondering, during the monthly seal survey records are also made of the island's birds and butterflies as well as ad hoc sightings of other interesting wildlife.