Local Heart, Global Soul

July 23, 2018

Seal Mystery And Watchers Watching The Watched…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Travelling south from Kaikoura, New Zealand at the end of December 2017, we were pleased to see that the local seals had taken up residence on some of the newly uplifted sea bed that rose up to six meters after the massive earthquake of 2016.

When we stopped for a break and breath of fresh air at the Hikurangi Marine reserve there were not many seals to be seen but for me it brings up  questions:

Were the seals going to traditional places where they knew the landforms to be best suited to their needs?

Were they coming ashore anywhere at random that had these qualities?

Do they adapt as landforms change or might it be a mixture of all of these?

As far as the “seal nursery” at what used to be Ohau point it is definitely the first option, but now that baby seals have been sent back there, maybe the seals have adapted too. There were seals on rocks too far out for my telephoto lens, they had been spotted by other visitors who walked further out on the rocks in order to take photographs. I could zoom in on them, but the seal they are taking photos of are a bit harder to spot: they are close in between the pair but closer to the lady on the right. I have heard that seals can move surprisingly fast on land, so what these two are doing seems rather foolhardy.

I kept my lens on the two closer to us and whist the shutter was clicking on fast shutter speed on the “sport” setting, did not notice anything special. Looking at the photographs on the computer later though I saw something I did not expect: the apparently sleeping seal suddenly raises it’s tail flippers, and a large round,red protrusion can be seen at it’s rear end, it’s not possible to see if it is relieving itself but a Nano second later the tail is back down, it lifts a front flipper to scatch it’s back and resumes the position it was first in, apparently without stirring much from it’s sleep. It’s the wrong time of year for pups so this can not have been a birth… I have no clue what I have seen here. Meanwhile the tourists on the rocks were still taking their pictures leading me to further wonder exactly who was being watched here?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

KaikoraSeals 2

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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