Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Pup tally 47 (43 live, 4 dead)

The number of pups is slowly climbing, but overall it will likely be a low year for seal reproduction. This time last year, there were over 30 new pups at the Big Razorback colony alone. This year, we have only 2 so far, born just yesterday. In fact, we hadn't seen a single seal here until 2 days ago. Maybe they were just waiting for one motivated individual to bust through and make a reliable-looking exit hole, because 5 seals were lounging on the ice when we got home last night, then 7 then 10 and finally 12 were out at midnight. Only 2 have pupped so far, but we expect that more will soon. We have a flight scheduled next week to fly north of our study area, and it will be interesting to see if some of the breeding females from this population are finding other places to have their pups.

Weather has been accomodating for the most part - temps are around 0-10F and we've only had a few really windy days. The sun has risen for the last time this year, and won't set until February 20. We have 5 people in camp right now, with 2 more on the way, so camp will be full for a couple weeks then we'll be back to our core group of 4.

Photos are lacking right now - my camera doesn't seem to deal as well with the temperatures down here as it has in past years. Maybe once it gets warmer I'll have better luck.

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