Thursday, 26 June 2014

Greg and Lisa's rogue porp eating Grey Seal...

Thanks for this Greg and Lisa!

A couple of years ago at Strumble I was with some other "Strumblers " watching migrating seabirds. One of the Strumblers, ( Pete Murray I think) , pointed out a seal eating what looked like  a big black fish. It was bleeding profusely which is not the norm for fish, neither did it look like any fish I am familiar with.

It took a moment for the penny to drop, it was a very small/neonate porp calf. As we watched on in a mild state of horror, what was presumably the calf's mother started surfacing near the seal in an agitated manner. Presumably the seal did not did not differentiate between mammals and fish... 

On several occasions I have seen Porpoises seemingly "park" very young calves that are incapable of following them on a feeding foray, near  a pot buoy. The calf seems to hang around the buoy whilst the mother takes a chance to  hunt for some much needed sustenance. On one or two occasions at Strumble I have seen what appeared to be a creche of several baby  porpoises "parked" in this way. I have also seen it just off the outer breakwater, Fishguard Harbour although this has only involved single mother and calf pairs.

Usually the mother comes back to check on the youngster which appears to  greet her enthusiastically often with some tail splashing. Obviously they are pretty vulnerable and in an area which has a lot of seals such as North Pembrokeshire, I suppose its not that surprising that the odd seal takes advantage of the vulnerable calf. Non the less there seemed to be quite a lot of people who thought I was mistaken in my observations. 
Always plenty of armchair experts about!